The troubling news reports began late last year, describing the dangers linked with the use of synthetic marijuana or herbal incense products sold over-the-counter.
Whether it was teens suffering severe health problems such as seizures, blackouts and kidney failure or exhibiting psychotic episodes or violent behavior, the use of the chemical-laced plant substances sold as “Posh,” “Wicked X” or “K2” prompted grave concerns among law enforcement officials, medical professionals and emergency responders.
At first were the local reports of young teens suffering convulsions and hallucinations — and burglarizing stores to obtain the substances. Emergency medical responders witnessed people threatening suicide or exhibiting demented behavior, as well as experiencing vomiting, high blood pressure, heart attacks and swelling of the brain.
Then there was the local news report in October that a Fort Edward man violently attacked a woman — attempting to strangle her and shove his fist down her throat — after smoking herbal incense. He told authorities he didn’t remember what had happened after his smoking session.
Also, reports were heard nationwide of various deaths and suicides blamed on psychotic behavior linked to the drug.
The same month, a Glens Falls woman was stabbed over a dozen times by her teenage son after he smoked synthetic marijuana. At the youth’s recent sentencing, the woman — who is facing permanent injuries — pleaded with the judge to be lenient, because his behavior was prompted by the drug and he had no prior criminal record.
We applaud the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo for imposing a ban two weeks ago to halt the sale of synthetic marijuana products, which officials say are highly addictive and a pose a severe health hazard.
The immediate ban was a measure enacted through the state Health Department, because Cuomo and other state officials sought to protect the state’s citizens as soon as possible — by bypassing the lengthy process of getting such laws approved in the state legislature.
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