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Synthetic marijuana is a rising concern, according to police

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  • Staff Report 

Despite the ongoing legalization of recreational marijuana in New York State, synthetic marijuana continues to plague the black market. Synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or Spice, is a designer drug designed to imitate THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. However, its packaging often lacks information on health and safety risks, and its consumption can lead to severe, long-lasting health consequences.

Utica Police recently issued a community warning about a dangerous blend of chemicals found in synthetic marijuana being sold in Central New York. Drugs like Valium and Xanax have been detected in these products, causing severe side effects and even overdoses.

Users may experience side effects such as agitation and hallucinations because they are often unaware of the contents of synthetic marijuana. Dr. Vince Calleo, Medical Director of Upstate University Hospital, explains that the many variations of these products make it difficult for buyers to know what they contain.

Recreational marijuana was legalized in New York State two years ago, but the lengthy process of opening dispensaries continues, with only six operating statewide. This limited availability may contribute to the persistence of synthetic marijuana sales. “It’s easy, it’s readily available, and it’s cheap,” said Lt. Michael Curly of the Utica Police Department.

Cannabis businesses in Central New York emphasize the importance of educating the public about legal and safe marijuana products, likening the situation to alcohol. Chere Charon, CEO of Cannacreations, believes that discussions about responsible use, storage, and waiting until the legal age to consume marijuana should parallel those about alcohol.