Ga. bill outlawing synthetic marijuana goes into law
(Source: Gov. Nathan Deal's Office)
ATLANTA (WTOC) -
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation on Tuesday that makes all forms of synthetic marijuana, including spice, illegal in Georgia.
"These synthetic substances pose an enormous risk to our public safety," said Deal in a statement. "As the usage has dramatically increased, instances of violence, bodily harm and even death have risen with it. I applaud the GBI and the General Assembly for their fast work on this legislation, which addresses a pressing need."
The substances has marijuana-like chemical compounds that are combined with different forms of dried vegetation, according to the governor's office. It has been sold in gas stations in Georgia, which has prompted a crackdown by authorities in several counties in the Coastal Empire. The drug is then bought and smoked by individuals in search of a legal high.
"This year what we did was just identify base formula and said that any variation of that would qualify as synthetic marijuana, spice, and therefore would be illegal. This gives law enforcement the opportunity to enforce the law much better," said State Senator Buddy Carter, Pooler.
Doctors have determined that synthetic marijuana can cause psychosis and increase the tendency of violent behavior, according to the governor's office.
"I do not think it should have ever hit the streets but apparently there are chemicals in it that people have made that made it into a synthetic marijuana. Chemicals can be changed every day so it is hard to regulate it without a blanket policy that is going to get everything. I wish we could have stopped it before it got to this point," said Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie, Effingham county.
The governor's office cited the beating case of Amber Fields, of Bulloch County, in a news release. The Bulloch County Sheriff's Office said that in September Fields' boyfriend, Jason Browning, attacked her. Neighbors say Browning began hallucinating and beat Amber nearly to death with a beer mug. He was charged with aggravated assault with the intent to murder.