Traverse City Record-Eagle

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June 6, 2012

Lawmakers, moms target synthetic marijuana

DETROIT — Michigan lawmakers took steps Wednesday to ban so-called synthetic marijuana, while concerned parents hit the streets to urge stores to keep it off shelves as momentum continued to build against a product linked to health problems and violent behavior.

Even before lawmakers act, Detroit-area communities and some counties have done so on their own this week to prohibit products known as K2 and Spice. Synthetic marijuana is a mix of dried herbs and spices sprayed with chemicals and smoked by users.

Police in Roseville made arrests Wednesday after inspecting a shop and finding owners had violated a new ban in Macomb County. Meanwhile, in Oakland County, concerned parents in the Clarkston area got 10 more businesses to agree not to sell synthetic marijuana. The pledge is taped to windows at gas stations, country markets and corner stores.

The recent death of an 18-year-old Oakland County man has been linked to synthetic marijuana use. Another young man charged with bludgeoning his father to death with a baseball bat had used it before the attack, according to court testimony.

At the state Capitol, two bills were up for votes Wednesday in the House. Final passage will require additional action.

In December, University of Michigan researchers who conducted a national survey said one of every nine high school seniors reported using synthetic marijuana in the previous 12 months.

“There seems to be horror stories coming out about people affected by this,” said Lloyd Johnston, the study’s principal investigator.

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