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MCAO News Releases

Posted on: January 10, 2011

Arizona Legislature Moves to Criminalize “Synthetic Cannabis”

PHOENIX, AZ (January 20, 2011) – A commercially available drug that mimics the active ingredient in marijuana will be illegal in Arizona under a proposed law sponsored by State Representative Amanda Reeve (R – LD6). The drug is sprayed on plant materials and marketed as incense under brand names including Spice, K2, Skunk, Yucatan Fire, Black Mamba, Blaze and Red X Dawn. Users typically smoke these products using paraphernalia commonly used to smoke marijuana. While currently not prohibited in Arizona, the drug has been classified by the US Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, making it illegal under federal law.

“Spice, K2 and similar products pose a serious danger to people who use them and to the safety of our communities. There is no reason Arizona should permit the sale and use of this dangerous drug which is already banned under federal law,” said Representative Reeve whose district includes the Cave Creek area and portions of northern Phoenix. “Having these products legally available only adds to the challenge faced by Arizona law enforcement in fighting the problems caused by illegal drugs,” she added.

If approved, Representative Reeve’s bill will classify the chemical compound used in synthetic cannabis products as a Dangerous Drug prohibited for sale, transfer or use under Arizona’s Criminal Code. A bill with similar language is expected to be proposed in the State Senate.

“This synthetic dangerous drug is being falsely presented to our youth as a safe, legal alternative to marijuana when in fact it is neither safe nor legal, nor is it marijuana,” commented Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “I applaud Representative Reeve for taking steps to ban these products and I call on her colleagues in the Legislature to support this effort.”

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