Minn. lawmaker wants to ban synthetic marijuanaby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Two state lawmakers and members of the law enforcement community say they'll work to ban the sale of synthetic marijuana in Minnesota.
State Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, said at a news conference Friday morning that record stores, tobacco shops and other retailers are selling the product as incense. But she says people are smoking it to get high.
Sieben says the synthetic substance provides the same high as real marijuana but has more severe, and potentially dangerous, side effects -- and there's nothing that law enforcement can do to stop its sale or use right now.
"This incredibly dangerous product, which is designated to mimic the effects of marijuana is still legal to sell, buy and possess in our state."
Cottage Grove Police investigator Dan Schoen says problems with the drug are showing up across the state.
"It's not just a metro issue. It's not just that Cottage Grove has this one issue," he said. "Our citizens asked us to deal with this problem, and the only way we could deal with this problem is going to the Legislature and saying, 'We need to get a law passed.'"
Eighteen other states have already banned the substance. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration announced Friday it has temporarily classified five chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana as illegal drugs.