Bentley bans sale of synthetic marijuana

Published 1:46 pm Monday, October 17, 2011

Gov. Robert Bentley is taking spice off store shelves in Alabama.

On Friday, Bentley signed an executive order authorizing state agencies to take synthetic cannabis products, nicknamed spice, off of store shelves across the state.

Synthetic cannabis has some of the same effects as marijuana and is sold under a number of different names. It is often marketed as herbal incense.

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At a press conference Friday, Bentley called the drug a threat.

“It is not sold as incense and it is not sold as potpourri,” Bentley said. “It is sold for what it used for, as a hallucinogenic drug.”

Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board agents will go through the state requesting that storeowners hand over versions of synthetic cannabis. The storeowners will be given receipts for what is taken.

Five compounds classified as synthetic cannabis are already banned in the state and State Health Officer Don Williamson announced at Friday’s press conference that he signed an order moving 24 more compounds to the state’s Schedule I list, effective October 24.

“These compounds do represent a real threat today and a threat that our partners in law enforcement has been a growing and emergent threat over a short period of time,” Williamson said.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers says it had received over 5,000 calls nationwide through Sept. 30 related to synthetic marijuana. The AAPCC said exposure means “contact” and does not necessarily signal poisoning or overdose.