Sep 15, 2011 5:18 AM by Maddie Garrett
Known as legal herb, spice or herbal incense, "synthetic marijuana" has been around for a few years now, but getting it off the streets hasn't been easy for law enforcement.
"They're called synthetic cannabinoids, they're not actually cannabinoids," says Acadiana Crime Lab director Kevin Ardoin who sees these packets all the time. And says there's nothing home grown about this stuff. It's a combination of chemicals sprayed onto a potpourri-like substance and sold at some convenience stores as a legal way to get high.
Crowley Police Chief says, "you're mixing various chemicals to make that high, you're really getting very dangerous when you're dealing with that."
But new laws were passed in July, classifying many ingredients in synthetic marijuana as schedule 1 narcotics. Still, manufacturers have found loop holes in the system.
"The law comes in and says that ingredients A, B, C, D and E are illegal to make this ingredient, you change an ingredient in there and it becomes legal," says Gibson.
So before someone can get arrested for possesion of this substance, it has to be shipped off for testing. The crime lab gets packets of synthetic marijuana on a routine basis. When it gets here they run it through their equipment to see if the chemicals are banned.
And as more versions of the synthetic drugs come in, Ardoin worries what these chemicals are doing to people who ingest them. "It actually has effects that are more potent than marijuana," says Ardoin. "It's actually very dangerous, more dangerous than marijuana." He hopes soon all versions will be made illegal.