BY TRONE DOWD
Synthetic marijuana, which has long haunted select parts of Queens, will finally see the legislative action that local law enforcement and public officials have long been calling for.
Councilman Ruben WIlls (D-South Jamaica), who has been a long time opponent to the selling of the legal synthetic drug, attended a rally outside City Hall in support of a bill banning K2.
The proposed legislation would allow the city to take action against distributors of the drug substitute. This includes the right to refuse the renewal of an establishment’s cigarette license, the ability to declare the establishment a societal nuisance and the eventual imposing of penalties for those who chose to sell it.
Synthetic marijuana, which is a plant based substitute that is then sprayed with additive chemicals to simulate the effects of cannabis, has been a point of discussion throughout New York for some time now. It is often used to avoid positive results on drug tests which look specifically for cannabis. Although legal, the short and long term effects of the drug on people’s health have been questioned by city officials. In some cases, users have experienced more than the effects found in marijuana use. This includes hallucinations, extreme paranoia, nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, tremors, seizures and violent behavior. Just last year, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported a total of 15 cases of adverse reactions to the drug. This year, the DOHMH reported a whopping 120 emergency room visits in the week of April 8 to 15 alone. In total, 15 people across the country have died using the drug so far this year.
In recent years, the sale of K2 has been an issue in Southeast Queens. Just last month, police in the 103rd Precinct said that they started a concerted effort to clear the 165th Jamaica Bus Terminal of the drug and keeping young men from purchasing it.
Reach Trone Dowd at (718) 357-7400 x123, firstname.lastname@example.org or @theloniusly.