Synthetic marijuana officially illegal across the United States

It looks like oregano and smells like incense; but its effects are detrimental. Commonly referred to as Spice or K-2, synthetic cannabinoid substances consumers use to achieve a high similar to the effects of marijuana, is now illegal as of March 1, 2011 by the Drug Enforcement Administration due to the alarming amount of emergency and poison control incidents related to the negative effects of the substance.

With the new temporary scheduling made possible by the DEA classifying Spice as a Schedule I drug, this synthetic marijuana will no longer be available for at least one year. Sentences for first-time, non-violent offenders convicted of trafficking in Schedule I drugs can turn into de facto (three strike) life sentences when multiple sales are prosecuted.

The Department of Defense recognized the abuse of the easy-to-acquire drug, so the Marine Corps prohibited troops from using the drug and possessing it altogether, Dec. 7, 2009. According to MARFORPAC Order 5355.2, the use of Spice and Salvia directly compromises the safety, welfare, security and good order and discipline within the command, so Marines and other service members should avoid any contact with the substance.

Some of the health effects caused by the drug include agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, tremor, seizures, hallucinations, paranoia and non-responsiveness.

Courtesy of Camp Pendleton media

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