‘Weaponized Marijuana’ Crisis Rattles New York City

By Brent McCluskey 08/06/15

Synthetic marijuana is wreaking havoc across the city.

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The use of synthetic marijuana derivatives like K2 and Spice is quickly spreading through New York City, bringing with it a dramatic rise in drug-related hospitalizations and deaths.

The devastating effects of synthetic marijuana have reached such a point that New York City law enforcement officers are now referring to it as “weaponized marijuana.” Users of synthetic marijuana have experienced myriad adverse side effects and thousands have been hospitalized, causing city officials to ramp up their efforts in eradicating the illicit drug.

Between April 1 and July 31 alone, 1,900 synthetic marijuana users have been admitted to New York hospitals. The drug can induce hallucinations, paranoia, and cardiac arrest, and, in the most extreme cases, a highly dangerous state known as excited delirium syndrome.

“This is much more like the PCP—so called angel dust—that we saw in the ‘80s,” said NYPD Assistant Commissioner Robert Messner.

Although synthetic marijuana is currently illegal in the state, it can still be found in many New York stores for as little as $2 per package.

“The synthetic marijuana issue has been one of great and growing concern here in New York,” said NYPD Commissioner William Bratton. “You are going to see a lot more of it in the short term.”

But city police are putting together the pieces of how the drug is sold and have raided countless corner stores and other outlets. Messner plans to bring an end to synthetic marijuana use in New York City and has taken steps to ensure major sellers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“If they keep on selling they’re going to suffer increasingly enhanced consequences,” said Messner. “The city isn’t going away on this issue.”

Those stores that continue selling synthetic marijuana may even face being shutdown. “We would be asking a judge to determine if these places are public nuisances,” said Messner, “and public nuisances can be ordered closed.”

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Brent McCluskey is a Social Media Editor at International Business Times as well as a Jedi with Sith tendencies.  He is also a reader of books, slayer of dragons, and level 80 mage.

“Yeah, I have a broad skill set. If I had to pick between being a Divergent or a wizard, I'd pick a wizard.”  His wizardness can be found on Twitter and Linkedin.