AUSTIN, TX - We've all heard of "Reefer Madness," but it turns out, the experts were a little off the mark with regard to the effects of marijuana. But when it comes to synthetic pot or "Spice," the effects associated with it are changing by the minute. That's in part because the product itself is changing.
J Thomas Smith Ph.D., a substance abuse counselor, says, "Well you can’t tell what’s in it. So they keep changing the ingredients They’ll sell it as potpourri. Ok, they’ll have on it, not for human consumption, with a wink because everybody knows, that folks that buy them, that’s what they’re going to do with them."
Last June, emergency officials in Austin reported over 200 people had suffered serious adverse effects from "Spice" in a single weekend. The laws in place gave law enforcement few options when it came to cracking down. But now in Texas, that's about to change.
Smith says, "This law permanently places 26 times of synthetic cannabinoids into Schedule 1 of the controlled substance act."
The new law now makes it nearly impossible to evade prosecution for manufacturing or possessing designer drugs. Considering deaths caused by "Spice" have tripled so far this year, it seems to be one piece of legislation congress can all agree on.
Smith sees it differently, "I don’t think new legislation will make a major blow, unless the law is enforced. A law is only as strong as the enforcement. So, there has to be a commitment of money and bodies to prosecute these cases."