The Oregon Board of Pharmacy will make it illegal starting Friday to sell or possess synthetic cannabis.
The products, sold as incense under names including Spice, K2 and Yucatan Fire, have flown under the radar of law enforcement until recently. Smoking the incense has sent dozens of people to hospitals nationwide.
Tests of the products by the Drug Enforcement Administration have detected small amounts of chemicals similar to active ingredients in marijuana. The pharmacy board decided to list the synthetic cannabinoid chemicals as schedule 1 controlled substances, which gives police the authority to prosecute people for sale or possession. Officials said they will post more details Friday.
The pharmacy board acted after several Oregon lawmakers expressed concern that use of synthetic cannabis incense is on the rise. At least six states have banned the sale of the incense. Poison control centers nationwide say they've received more than 1,500 calls related to the synthetic marijuana products.
Labels don't list any ingredients, including ones that could be toxic. "And we have no idea how it's going to affect the individual," Dr. Rob Hendrickson, associate medical director of the Oregon Poison Center, told The Oregonian earlier this year.
Most patients who have shown up in Oregon emergency rooms displayed symptoms similar to taking too many stimulants, including high blood pressure and tremors, Hendrickson said.
-- Joe Rojas-Burke
October 14, 2010
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Synthetic pot banned in Oregon