Synthetic marijuana bill passes Senate

A bill that would ban synthetic marijuana in South Carolina passed the Senate on second reading on Thursday, and will now move on to the House. South Carolina is one of several states that has banned or is considering banning the substance. If signed into law, synthetic marijuana like Spice and K2 will be considered a Schedule I drug, which would make it just like real marijuana in the eyes of the law.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the city of Rock Hill have banned synthetic marijuana. Five chemicals typically used in the mixture, which is of smokeable greens coated with a mist of cannabinoids, have been moved to Schedule I status by the federal government. The federal law, though, is only in effect until Dec. 25, with an option to extend for another six months. A state law helps buttress that attempt to get the drug off the streets.

“Synthetic cannabis is dangerous and shouldn’t be sold by lawful retailers,” bill lead sponsor Wes Hayes said. “The youth of our community are smoking a substance that has hazardous chemicals and can lead to serious medical conditions.”

Last fall, a Fort Mill girl had to be admitted to the hospital as a result of taking two hits of a brand called Mary Joy. She was suffering from extreme paranoia, high blood pressure and involuntary muscle spasms.

A similar bill, authored by Rep. Tommy Pope, has been filed in the House.