Contact: Laurence Grotheer
April 10, 2012
State Senator Andrea L. Stillman (D-Waterford), Rep. Kevin Ryan (D-Montville), and local advocates held a press conference in Montville today to highlight new state regulations banning the sale of synthetic cannabis products and Salvia Divinorum, a naturally occurring hallucinogen. The new regulations are the result of a state law enacted last year.
Senator Stillman said the faux marijuana products—offered as Spice, K2, and Blaze among other brand names—were sold as incense but widely inhaled and used to get high; Salvia Divinorum is often and commonly referred to as sage, often used to achieve LSD-like hallucinogenic effects.
“This problem was originally brought to my attention by district residents who work to help local teenagers and they convinced me it was counterintuitive to allow the legal sale of these products, so we wrote the bill and began the two-year process of getting it enacted,” Senator Stillman said. “If one of our purposes in state government is to protect the public health and well-being of individual residents—particularly young people—our state must carefully scrutinize comparable products and ban those with no discernable productive purpose.”
Advocates agreed that fake marijuana products seem targeted at young people and are said to contain chemicals researchers estimate to be from 5 to 25 times more potent than THC, the active ingredient in the real thing. Experts say Salvia alters the user’s perception and affects receptors in the brain responsible for pain control and some psychiatric disorders.
"While the long term effects of these drugs are relatively unknown, what we do know is frightening," Representative Ryan said. "Limiting their availability, especially to young people is something I'm proud to support."
Advocates said that beyond the health and safety risk these products pose to those who use them, labeling to suggest ‘not for consumption’ contradicts the packaging, which clearly promotes ingestion.
“These products are used by more and more young people having escaped the scrutiny of the Food and Drug Administration and other authorities at the federal and state level that might otherwise certify or standardize their ingredients; there is literally nothing in place to monitor the manufacture of these products and no testing to speak of to know the short or long-term effects of using them,” Senator Stillman added. “This new law and resulting regulations outlaw the legal sale of these products in our state and protect those who would start or who insist upon continued use of them.”
Lawmakers were joined at today’s press conference by Michele Devine, Executive Director of the Southeastern Regional Action Council (SERAC), who first brought the matter to Senator Stillman’s attention, Montville Mayor Ron McDaniel, Resident State Trooper Sgt. Troy Gelinas, and local businessman Fayaz Khan, who hosted today’s event.
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