YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A new round of synthetic marijuana busts on the Wildwood boardwalk is the first sign of summer that state authorities are cracking down on the toxic substances.
Five boardwalk shops and one in nearby Rio Grande signaled renewed enforcement begun last year by state Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa and the Division of Consumer Affairs — and stepped up beginningin February, when New Jersey became only the fourth state to outlaw synthetic pot and all of its variants.
Investigators from the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office seized nearly 1,600 packets of the phony weed and other toxic chemicals that they said had an estimated retail value of $160,000, as well as $121,000 in cash.
A surprising find were nearly a dozen firearms being kept on site by the shop owners, they said.
The substances bore labels including “K2,” “Rehab,” and “Jersey Shore,” all of which, when smoked, get users high or stoned.
But there’s a flipside.
“Synthetic marijuana is associated with alarming symptoms including seizures, panic attacks and hallucinations, leading some users to commit suicide or suffer fatal injuries,” Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, said.
The substances are now officially classifed under New Jersey law as Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substances — the criminal equivalent of cocaine or heroin.
Distribution, sale or possession is a third-degree crime, subject to a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for a three to five years.
Chiesa and Cape May County Prosecutor Robert L. Taylor thanked the New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Science for expeditiously testing the substances that were sold to undercover officers, and thanked the NJSP, state Division of Taxation, Cape May County Sheriff’s Office, Middle Township Police Department, and Wildwood City Police Department for their roles in the investigation and arrests.
“These toxic chemicals have devastating effects on the body and mind, but they are growing in popularity among teenage users nationwide,” Chiesa said. “There is no time to waste in our effort to ensure shady retailers will never again sell these poisons as if they were legal.”
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 11:00 Jerry DeMarco
EXCLUSIVE: Operators of convenience stores, head shops and boardwalk novelty stores who sell “Spice,” “Black Mamba,” “Kush” and other forms of synthetic pot have a 10-day grace period in which they can surrender the products or face criminal charges if caught selling them. READ MORE….
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.