April 4, 2012
County Implements New York’s Ban on the Sale of Synthetic Marijuana
Hauppauge, NY – Suffolk County Department of Health Services Commissioner James Tomarken announced today that the department’s Office of Health Education, Tobacco Enforcement Unit, has begun implementing a New York State Department of Health order banning the sale of synthetic cannabinoid products by dropping in on retailers and distributing the state’s summary order imposing a ban on these products. Merchants are required to immediately remove these products from their stores and are asked to return them to the distributor.
The products, generally referred to as synthetic marijuana, consist of plant material coated by chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. They are often sold at convenience stores and smoke shops under brand names such as "Spice," "K2," "Mr. Nice Guy" and "Galaxy Gold.”
Agents are gathering information from retailers during their visits and reporting the information to the state. The department will follow up with subsequent visits to check on merchant compliance.
The commissioner expressed substantial concern because using these synthetic products, which were being sold as a “legal alternative” to real marijuana, may cause increased heart rate, paranoid behavior, irritability, nausea, vomiting, headache, hypertension, seizures, loss of consciousness, acute renal failure and death.
Merchants who have any questions regarding the state order may contact the Suffolk County Department of Health Services at 853-3162.
CONTACT: Grace Kelly-McGovern