K2 Incense, Synthetic Marijuana to be Banned in New York

By AARON CURTIS

acurtis@palltimes.com

OSWEGO New York— Members of the Oswego County Legislature passed a resolution without debate Thursday night which encourages the state and federal government to ban “legal weed” and designer drugs.

The resolution asks for the banning of several products, including cannabinoids, known by a wide variety of names, such as “Happy Shaman Herbs,” K2 incense, Spice and legal weed; natural psychoactive and hallucinogenic herbs, including salvia divinorum; and bath salts and mephedrone, which are synthetic substances that produce similar effects as an amphetamine.

The resolution targets the substances, citing that law enforcement agencies and courts are seeing increased crime in the area as a result of the substances, which include Happy Shaman and salvia divinorum, while hospitals, health agencies and poison control centers are experiencing increased emergency room cases. The measure also suggests that the products are targeted toward children and teenagers.

Concerned parents within the Oswego community reacted to the sale of the products, including one individual who wrote an email to The Palladium-Times stating that she knew of several teens addicted to Happy Shaman. The product is currently sold in stores including Bodified, Heagerty’s Hot Spot and Xtreme Underground, all based in Oswego.

The owner of Bodified, Heidi Eggleston, has defended the sale of Happy Shaman, noting that if used as it is intended, the product is not harmful. Also, a person must be 18 years old to purchase the product.

“It is a relaxation incense,” Eggleston said regarding Happy Shaman in August. “Obviously there is misuse of the product, as far as people smoking it directly, which can have harmful effects. However, if used properly, there is no harm. But if you choose to misuse it, that is your own thing.”

During a county Legislature Health and Human Services Committee meeting late last month regarding the topic, Dr. Norma Cooney, chief of emergency services for Oswego Health, talked to the group regarding the potential dangers of designer drugs, including amphetamines, ecstasy, Molly and bath salts.

“I see the patients when they’re dying,” she said. “I see the patients when they’re bouncing off the walls. I see the patients when their hearts are stopping. And you tell me, how is that a good thing? How can you allow this … substance to be legal?”
All 25 county legislators voted in favor of the resolution; synthetic marijuana products are well on their way to being made illegal in New York

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