NC Senate OKs synthetic pot ban

Posted February 10, 2011 12:07 p.m. EST
Updated October 5, 2011 8:47 a.m. EDT

— The state Senate on Thursday approved two bills that would ban synthetic marijuana as well as a substance sold as plant food that’s often used as a recreational drug.

Both pieces of proposed legislation now go to the state House.

In a brief session, lawmakers voted 50-0 in favor of Senate Bill 9, which would impose penalties against anyone possessing or selling so-called fake marijuana.

The substance, legally sold in convenience stores and gas stations under brand names such as Spice and K2, is a mix of herbs and spices that are sprayed with a chemical compound similar to the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

“This is a bill that’s desperately needed,” said Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, a co-sponsor of the bill. “It’s impacting young people throughout our state in a very profound and significant way.”

If passed, the bill would become effective April 1 and make it a misdemeanor for simple possession of the substance and a Class 1 felony for possessing substantial quantities or trafficking.

In a related bill, the Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 7, which would ban mephedrone, a substance found in plant food and bath salts that’s used as a recreational drug in the nightclub scene because of its hallucinogenic effects.

If passed, it would go into effect Dec. 1.