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Tuesday, October 18, 2011
WORCESTER COUNTY - Fake Marijuana Ban Considered
If you plan to attend this meeting: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 11:00 a.m. @ 1 W. Market Street, Snow Hill, MD.
SNOW HILL -- The public has the opportunity to weigh in on Worcester County's proposed ban on fake marijuana and similar hallucinogens.
The Worcester County Commissioners are scheduled to consider emergency legislation Tuesday that would ban "cannabimimetic agents and hallucinogenic chemical substances" -- a wordy way to describe products popularly known as K2 or Spice.
The meeting begins at 11 a.m., one hour later than the usual start time, because of a scheduled closed session beforehand.
The bill specifically outlaws chemicals that replicate the effects of the main psychoactive compound of marijuana, as well as chemical compounds deemed to be hallucinogenic chemical substances.
Anyone convicted of violating the proposed law could face misdemeanor drug charges bringing, at most, a penalty of six years in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Ocean City in August passed a municipal ban on such hallucinogenic substances, and the commissioners are poised to enact a law that mirrors the resort's. The goal is to prevent spill-over sales into the county.
Such drugs are sold under the guise of being incense. But in area shops, merchants have been known to push each as a substance that will bring the user a high similar to smoking marijuana, according to Chief Bernadette DiPino of the Ocean City Police.
Moreover, fake pot is marketed to young people who are eager to smoke marijuana, but perhaps don't want to break the law just yet, according to Worcester County State's Attorney Beau Oglesby. He wrote a letter to county leaders supporting a ban.
Oglesby said without the county adopting a ban similar to Ocean City's, a child of any age could legally purchase synthetic drugs outside the resort limits.
Representatives from Oglesby's office, the county Sheriff's Office and Ocean City police are all expected to offer testimony to the commissioners as to why products of this nature should be made illegal to possess.
The commissioners gave the green light to the ban at a Sept. 13 work session.