The Orlando Sentinel reports that Florida State Senator Rob Cole has introduced legislation which would make possession of synthetic marijuana marketed under the names “spice” and “K-2” illegal, as well as a number of other substances. Possession of these substances would carry a penalty of up to a year in jail and those caught selling or manufacturing these drugs could be charge with a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
These synthetic versions of marijuana can be very dangerous. They have caused hallucinations, paranoia, and psychotic episodes. Users are smoking substances that are created chemically and have no real way to determine what it is that they are consuming.
Making these substances illegal is appropriate. They are having a terrible effect on the users, and are particularly being abused by younger users. However, perhaps there is a better way to prevent people from using synthetic cannabis and be subject to all the problems associated with these harmful chemicals. If Florida followed the growing trend of decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana, the use and abuse of synthetic marijuana would likely decline rapidly. It is time that our Florida legislature rethink the way marijuana is treated.