NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 8, 2013

Curbs put on 'fake weed'

Selectmen OK ordinance to control use of synthetic cannabinoids

SEABROOK — It is now unlawful to transport, use or possess synthetic cannabinoids or their derivatives on Seabrook roads, sidewalks or any town property, under a unique town ordinance unanimously approved by the Board of Selectmen last night.

It was a move that drew applause from a standing-room-only crowd. It also drew tears of joy from an East Kingston mother and Seabrook businesswoman who’s seen her son’s life ruined by the use of this legally sold, chemically treated herbal incense, that when abused and smoked is known as “fake weed.”

“My 27-year old son and his girlfriend are addicted to it,” said the woman, who would give only her first name, Darlene.

The woman said that with nowhere to live due to their addiction, the young couple and their baby had moved in with her recently because of their uncontrollable use of synthetic cannabinoids that they purchased at stores in Seabrook.

The addictions are interfering with their ability to care for their child, she said, and has even led to their arrest when they were found nodding off in their car in a parking lot, while their baby was in the back seat.

Synthetic cannabinoid is supposedly pleasant-smelling herbal incense, but when smoked, it produces an addictive high many believe is more dangerous than marijuana due to the chemicals that are inhaled. Originally sold under names such of K-2 or Spice, which were since banned, other brands have taken their place. According to Seabrook Sgt. Brett Walker, local police most often see the synthetic cannabinoid brand Bizarro.

Although the federal Drug Enforcement Agency has repeatedly banned several of the substances used to alter the herbs through spraying, as soon as one chemical is barred, others are introduced. Packages of synthetic cannabinoids are stamped “not for human consumption,” a technicality making it very difficult to ban and even control the product, Walker said, even though most who buy the substance do so to smoke it.

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