Alaska outlaws chemicals used in synthetic cannabis

Synthetic marijuana has officially been criminalized by the state of Alaska. Substances designed to “mimic” the effects of marijuana — but that have reportedly caused “heart attack-like symptoms” for Alaskans — are now considered schedule IIIA controlled substances under state statute; some are also under emergency federal ban by the FDA.

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell has signed into law House Bill 7, to take effect July 7, according to the Associated Press as reported by the Tacoma News-Tribune. The bill was passed by both chambers of the Legislature in April under principle sponsorship of Juneau Republican Rep. Cathy Munoz.

Here’s how synthetic cannabinoids like Spice and K2 incense are described by the state: “The synthetic cannabinoid is a combination of herbal and chemical compounds that commonly produce a reaction similar to the use of marijuana. The popularity is increasing, especially among youth, due to easy accessibility, low cost and the difficulty of detection on drug tests.”

Alaskans caught possessing less than 12 grams of substances like Spice or K2 incense (both recently for sale in Anchorage and Fairbanks smoke shops) will face a misdemeanor. Possession of more than 12 grams becomes a felony, effective next Friday. The bill also criminalizes sale of K2 incense, Spice and other synthetics, often marketed as “incense” at smoke shops.

In an effort to deter do-it-yourself alchemists who’ve experimented with creating mind-altering substances from a mix of potent chemicals, the state outlawed several compounds.

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