Board of Health Bans Synthetic Marijuana

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Effective immediately,  the Board of Health has banned the sale of synthetic marijuana also known as K2, Spice and Scooby Snacks.

“We’re taking a loophole and closing it,” Mayor Brian Arrigo said during Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Health.

The issue of synthetic marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids came to Arrigo’s attention when a constituent said a local gas/convenience store was selling the synthetic marijuana.

“Today’s vote by the Board of Health closes a dangerous loophole that had been exploited to sell synthetic cannabinoids to our residents,” said Arrigo. “These products are often aimed at teenagers. I appreciate the Board’s swift action to rectify this problem.”

Retailers who sell synthetic cannabinoids are subject to fines from the Board of Health and review by the License Commission.

The synthetic marijuana is not marijuana, but plant material that has been sprayed with chemicals. There are different chemicals for different brands. Users have often experience bizarre behavior even violent behavior and can end up in the emergency room. The substance has had a detrimental effect on some NFL players who have used it. Side effects could include violent and aggressive behavior, rapid heartbeat, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, confusion, headaches and seizures.

Banning the substance puts Revere in the company of Boston, New York City, Texas and soon Maryland. The local regulation follows Boston’s regulation closely.

Violators who sell the synthetic marijuana could face a $300 fine.

Representative RoseLee Vincent, who supported the ban and is a member of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana, commented to the Board that “products containing synthetic marijuana cause dangerous and irrational behaviors by people who ingest them.”

This ban comes on the heels of changes in the city tobacco laws, which were passed by the board and will take effect September 1.

In addition to increasing the age to purchase to 21, the board will require signs for cessation or quitting; the adoption of a minimum cigar package size/pricing; no renewal of permit if three sales are made to minors; cap or reduce the number of permits; no new retailers within 500 feet of a school; restrict flavored tobaccos except in adult only retail stores; ban the sale of blunt wraps; ban non-residential roll-your-own machines; ban tobacco and nicotine delivery products in educational institutions; and raise fines – $300 for each offense with a 30-day suspension for a third offense.

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