As local governments and some state governments are banning the chemical substance that is known as a synthetic marijuana, often sold as K2 or Spice, the Polk County Sheriff, Grady Judd of Florida is making good his promise to crack down on stores that sell it. Last week the central Florida sheriff announced more than a dozen arrests over the controversial product that is sold as incense, but is really an inert combination of dried herbs sprayed with the chemical JWH-018 or a similar byproduct.
On Thursday, undercover detectives purchased the products at various outlets and those clerks behind the counter were then arrested and charged with the sale of an imitation controlled substance, a third-degree felony in Florida. Sheriff Judd says the effort is necessary since the product is often sold to children. Legislation is proposed for next year’s session to classify synthetic marijuana as an illegal narcotic.
Meanwhile, one of the reasons for the explosive popularity of the new substance is coming to an end. A company called Norchem in Flagstaff Arizona has now come up with a lab-based test that definitively confirms the presence in the Urine of JWH-018, JWH-019, JWH-073 and JWH-250, the four most commonly seen forms of synthetic marijuana. The test was developed primarily for the criminal justice system including drug courts, probation, parole and treatment centers.
The company was allowed to re-test hundreds of randomly pulled specimens of individuals that are court ordered to not use mind or behavior altering substances and they are claiming they detected the synthetic cannabiniod in over 60% of those samples tested. The specimens that were tested had previously tested negative for drugs of abuse. The company says that the samples that tested positive showed geographic trends of use, mainly in Nevada, Colorado, southern Arizona, Kansas, and southern California