YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Synthetic marijuana has been around for years and can be found just about anywhere. It looks like potpourri, which is why officials say it’s so easy to cover up. But the drug contains no components of marijuana.
“It’s an absolute complete different substance, and that’s one of the reasons why it can be so dangerous. People think it’s the same thing when in reality it’s not,” explained Dave Sunday, a prosecutor with the York County district attorney’s office.
Sunday says the drug is becoming more potent as makers find new loopholes to stay one step ahead of lawmakers, making it difficult to prosecute.
“The reality is the chemists are changing the chemical compound, so it is not a controlled substance in Pennsylvania. So, when we go to prove in court this is synthetic, by the time we catch the stuff on the street, a lot of times it’s a brand new chemical compound,” he said.
But the side effects can cause some people to act erratic or even end up hospitalized.
“Her heart rate went up so bad, she was hospitalized for a week before they could bring it down,” said Tony Cameron, whose children experimented with the drug. One of them came close to death.
“It makes you sick. It makes you throw up blood. You need it instantly” Cameron explained. “You have to smoke it all day long.”
A wake up call, Cameron said, he hopes everyone can learn from.
“It’s horrible. Anybody using it, you need to stop. It’s horrible,” he said.
Police released a statement saying in the past two weeks they’ve had nine encounters with individuals they believe were under the influence of synthetic marijuana. The cases are under investigation.