– Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa
today announced the New Jersey Division of
Consumer Affairs will hold a public hearing
on Thursday, May 10 – one month from
today – to take testimony on the Attorney
General’s and the Division’s intent
to make permanent New Jersey’s comprehensive
ban on synthetic marijuana.
struck an important first blow by enacting
a temporary ban that, for the first time,
outlawed every possible variant of synthetic
marijuana,” Attorney General Chiesa
said. “Now we are taking the steps
needed to make the ban permanent, and a
public hearing is a vital part of that process.
These toxic chemicals have devastating effects
on the body and mind, but they are growing
in popularity among teenage users nationwide.
There is no time to waste in our effort
to ensure shady retailers will never again
sell these poisons as if they were legal.”
Jersey on February 28, 2012 became the fourth
state in the nation to enact a sweeping
ban that covers all known and unknown variants
of synthetic marijuana – a term that
includes hundreds of dangerous, manmade
chemicals, sold with brand names such as
“K2” and “Spice,”
that are designed to mimic marijuana’s
effect on the brain. (Press release: http://njconsumeraffairs.gov/press/02292012.htm).
drugs are temporarily banned by an Order
of the Director of the Division of Consumer
Affairs, which adds all known and unknown
variants of synthetic marijuana to the list
of Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substances
in New Jersey. As Schedule I CDS, the drugs
are now subject to the highest level of
State control, like cocaine and heroin.
Manufacture, distribution, sale, or possession
of the chemicals is now a third-degree crime.
Violators may be subject to a fine of up
to $25,000 and imprisonment for a three-
to five-year term.
New Jersey’s Controlled Dangerous
Substances Act, the Order of the Consumer
Affairs Director will remain in effect for
270 days, or until a permanent regulation
is adopted. Next month’s public hearing
is a necessary component of the administrative
process of adopting a permanent regulation.
Public notice about the hearing was published
March 19, 2012 in the New Jersey Register.
the Public Hearing:
The public hearing will begin at 10 a.m.,
Thursday, May 10, in the New Jersey Division
of Consumer Affairs headquarters, Monmouth
Conference Room, 7th Floor, 124 Halsey
Street, Newark, NJ 07101.
Requests to speak should be submitted
in writing, no later than May 4, 2012,
to Sharon Joyce, Acting Director, New
Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, P.O.
Box 45027, 124 Halsey Street, Newark,
NJ 07101. Those who do not pre-register
to speak will be given an opportunity
to do so only as time permits. Written
comments are also encouraged and should
be sent, no later than May 4, to the same
toxic ingredients of synthetic marijuana
can have devastating effects on the user.
Of the 146 cases of synthetic marijuana
exposure reported to the New Jersey Poison
Information and Education System in 2011,
92 percent resulted in symptoms alarming
enough to require treatment in a healthcare
Synthetic marijuana has been linked to
dangerous side effects including violent
seizures, dangerously elevated heart rates,
anxiety attacks, and hallucinations, according
to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Published reports indicate users have
committed suicide or suffered fatal injuries
after suffering extreme panic attacks
caused by synthetic marijuana use. Reports
published in peer-reviewed journals associate
synthetic marijuana use with psychosis
in some patients.
In 2010, the most recent year for which
comprehensive data is available, poison
control centers received reports about
five deaths nationwide associated with
More recently, 14-year-old Brandon Rice,
of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania,
reportedly died at Children’s Hospital
in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania on October
27, 2011, due to his use of synthetic
marijuana smoked from a Pez candy dispenser.
The severe damage to his lungs resulted
in four months of suffering, prior to
his death of an infection following a
double lung transplant.
despite the dangerous consequences of abuse,
synthetic marijuana is growing in popularity
as a drug of choice. In fact, according
to poison control center data, its reported
use has risen even more rapidly in New Jersey
than in the nation as a whole.
The New Jersey Poison Education and Information
System received 146 calls reporting exposure
to synthetic marijuana in 2011 –
an alarming 711 percent increase from
2010. Seventy percent of the synthetic
marijuana reports in 2011 originated in
Middlesex, Ocean, Monmouth, Morris, Mercer,
and Atlantic counties.
Nationwide, poison control centers received
7,000 calls related to synthetic marijuana
exposure – a 139 percent increase
from 2010, according to the American Association
of Poison Control Centers.
Synthetic marijuana is the third most
commonly abused drug by high school seniors,
after marijuana and abused prescription
drugs, according to the 2011 Monitoring
the Future Study, funded by the National
Institute on Drug Abuse.
marijuana is usually sold in small packets
of approximately 500 milligrams to three
grams, with brand names such as “K2,”
“K3,” “Spice,” “Kush,”
“Down 2 Earth,” “Comatose
Candy,” and many others. The packets
often contain a mixture of herbs and plant
materials that have been coated with chemical
agents that affect the brain. The products
are often labeled as “incense”
or “potpourri” in order to hide
their true nature from law enforcement.
of synthetic marijuana and other suspected
designer drugs have been sold at gas stations,
boardwalk novelty shops, and other locations
across New Jersey. The packages often bear
labels claiming the contents are not covered
by any existing federal or state ban, creating
the impression that they can be sold legally.
much more information on the New Jersey
Division of Consumer Affairs’ initiative
to stop the use of synthetic marijuana,
so-called “bath salts,” and
other designer drugs, view the Division’s
website at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/designer.
information on the Division’s initiative
to halt the diversion and abuse of prescription
drugs, view the Division’s New Jersey
Prescription Monitoring Program website
and the Division’s Project Medicine
Drop website at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/meddrop.
the Division of Consumer Affairs on Facebook,
and check our online calendar of upcoming