A person used to be able to buy “legal marijuana,” or synthetic pot, over the counter. In the past year, poison control saw a significant increase in the use of these substitutes. This has made it a high priority target for prosecutors and law enforcement officials. But while it has been a concern the legality of various types of these substances had been murky. Selling some of them had been perfectly legal, while other could result in drug charges.

Five types of these synthetic drugs soon became illegal drugs in May 2011, but since then, officials have added all variations of the substance to the list, which gives prosecutors and police more freedom to arrest or prosecute the sellers. The Department of Consumer Affairs issued an “emergency order” that is effective immediately and stays in place for 270 days. The “emergency order” makes all forms of the synthetic marijuana illegal.

On Feb. 16, 2011, authorities invaded a smoke shop just after the shop received a 50-pound delivery of the synthetic marijuana. The police had been conducting an investigation on synthetic drugs for about a year. The owner of the shop refused to comment. The shop sells novelty jewelry and glass. The State Attorney alleges that shops like the jewelry and glass shop are trying to get around the law.

Authorities are cracking down on alleged synthetic drug. This can pose a serious problem for those who had been previously selling the substance legally. Because it is not actually marijuana and prior to this edict had been completely legal to sell, it would not be surprising for some merchants to be caught off guard when they are suddenly raided and finding themselves facing drug charges.

Source: The Times of Trenton, “N.J. Attorney General cracks down on synthetic pot,” Alex Zdna, Mar. 1, 2012