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Synthetic pot challenges law enforcement
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Forsyth County News

For the second time in a month, law enforcement officials have conducted raids on three local stores and seized large quantities of “synthetic marijuana.” That’s unfortunate. You would like to think store owners would voluntarily clear their shelves of a product that has been linked to deaths and violent rages all around the world.

But for some in our society money is all that matters.

Synthetic marijuana provides an unusual legal challenge for local law enforcement. Earlier this year the state prohibited certain chemical mixes used to create the drug, only to see manufacturers change the chemical combination to something that sidestepped the law.

At the request of Gov. Nathan Deal, the state Board of Pharmacy last month declared the revamped chemical compositions illegal, which allows the substance to be seized from sellers. Those who sell it, however, cannot currently be arrested for doing so.

That’s too bad. Those who would intentionally endanger the lives of others, especially young people, just to make a dollar deserve the opportunity to spend time in jail for doing so.

Another potentially deadly chemical combination, commonly referred to as “bath salts,” is also being sold online and in convenience stores, despite the fact that its hallucinogenic qualities have been tied to deaths and violent attacks.

Marketed under seemingly innocuous sounding names like Spice, these products are anything but harmless. State officials have said synthetic marijuana can be 30 times more potent than the organic weed most of us think of when we hear the term marijuana.

And it is a worldwide problem. A leader in the fight against illegal drugs in Russia warned last week that his country was facing a synthetic marijuana epidemic. Much of Europe faces similar challenges.

So what do we do?

We fight it.

As parents, be vigilant in watching for any such substance in the possession of youngsters.

As consumers, let it be known that stores selling such products won’t be getting your business.

As responsible members of the community, do whatever you can to keep law enforcement informed about businesses the continue to flaunt the law by selling something so potentially dangerous.

And as for those business owners that insist on selling such products, just to make a buck? All we can do is pray for them, at least until the laws are changed so they can be put in jail.