Synthetic marijuana hard to detect - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Synthetic marijuana hard to detect

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By: Brittany Paris
bparis@klkntv.com

It comes under many names, Spice, Black Mamba, more commonly, K-2.

Similar to marijuana, synthetic marijuana is smoked and gives the user a high. Unlike marijuana, that high is more intense, sometimes fatal, as in the case of Billy Tucker.

"You don't know what kind of chemical structure, what it is you're ingesting, inhaling into your body," Jeffrey Bliemeister, Chief Deputy, said.

But that's because it's not intended to be inhaled. According to synthetic marijuana packages, it's potpourri. And it's legal.

"It's on the shelves right next to the counter, right next to the pipes," Steve Tucker, Billy's father, said. "It's not illegal for your 10-year-old kid to walk into this store and purchase this."

"Many of the products are marked, 'Not for human consumption.' But one can speculate that that is a workaround of the law itself," Bliemeister said.

Officials say K-2 doesn't show up on drug tests, which could be a drawing point, especially for Tucker, who was on probation for a different narcotics charge when he overdosed.

Officials say it's hard to put their foot down on synthetic marijuana because the chemicals keep on changing.

And that's because while certain formulas of K-2 have been banned, countless more are being used to make the synthetic marijuana. Therefore, some of it is perfectly legal.

Still, officials are hoping to crack down on the abuse of it. And lawmakers are working to prevent the sale of it.

"If one person has to go and seek medical treatment or one kid dies, it's clearly a problem," Bliemeister said.

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