Governor Maggie Hassan has declared a state of emergency in the town of Manchester, New Hampshire after 34 people overdosed on a synthetic drug called spice in one day. As of Friday, at least 10 more people have overdosed from the same drug. The drug, sold under the brand name Smacked, is a form of synthetic marijuana. The version associated with these cases comes with a bubble gum flavoring.
Officials state that most of the overdose victims have been located in one of three parks that are located in the center of the city. According to Police Chief David Mara, the victims of overdose have been experiencing seizures, elevated heart rates and have been lethargic. So far, none of the overdoses have been fatal but least 20 people have been taken to the hospital via ambulance.
Beth Germano for WBZ-TV explains that “Smacked” is actually a mix of spices that have been sprayed with a drug that resembles THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. To avoid any regulations by the Food and Drug Administration, the product is marked as ‘not intended for human consumption’. Smacked is smoked to achieve a high. Mara states that because there are no FDA regulations on the drug and due to the fact that its being sold as potpourri, you never know what you’ll be getting.
This is a prime example of that. What police are thinking was a bad batch seems to have made its way into several conveniences stores, where Smacked is being sold. According to CBS Boston, during the state of emergency, investigators will be confiscating the drug as well as raising awareness for the danger it poses. Police report three stores have already been shut down for refusing to comply.
It is unclear what the consequences will be for the victims as well as for the shops that have sold the drug, though a head shop owner was just sentenced to 17.5 years for selling spice in Minnesota. The White House website states that federal, Congressional, state, local, and non-governmental officials have already started to work on enacting policies and legislation that will educate and try to work against the threat synthetic marijuana can pose. So far though, these drugs have not been banned at a federal level.
Does this help or hurt the case for regulated and legal marijuana?