Policing Synthetic Marijuana - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Policing Synthetic Marijuana

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Many area teens are falling victim to a potentially deadly synthetic drug.

Officials say many area smoke shops are still selling synthetic marijuana. And one out of every three juniors from Amarillo High is smoking it.

Officials believe it's because it was just recently banned in the past legislative session. Impact Futures is trying to stop these stores offering it on their shelves to help reduce substance abuse among teens.

Project Director LaVisa Matthews says, "We've gone in, and we tell them what it does. And it causes brain hemorrhages. I actually had one guy tell me. This is my empire. And if some stupid kids in Amarillo die, so be it."

Randall County Sheriff Joel W. Richardson says, "It's a very, very dangerous substance. And we're finding more and more of it all the time."

Synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or Spice, can cause people to be incoherent, violent, convulse, or even die. Area vendors are advertising it as potpourri with scents like watermelon, strawberry or cotton candy.

But just because you can find it on local shelves doesn't mean it's legal or safe. Officials say you can search "Bad K2 trips" on You Tube to see the effects.

Matthews says area vendors are trying to stay ahead of the game since a chemical compound was specified in the law. "If we ban one of the chemicals, then they can just change one of the molecular components of that chemical. And they have a new chemical that's not banned. So they're staying ahead of us."

However, there are some area stores who are obeying the law. Matthews says, "We have had one smoke shop that's working with us. They've pulled off all the synthetics off their shelves. And that's the Music Box." She says at least 14 local smoke shops are still selling synthetic narcotics.

Sheriff deputies are keeping a close eye on these stores. Sheriff Richardson says, "If we stop a car load of kids, and they've got K2. They'll tell us where they bought it. What store they bought it at. And that's one way we find out "

Officials say they'll prosecute vendors who keep synthetic marijuana on their shelves.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.