For Immediate Release:
May 09, 2011

Media Contact:
Olga Vega

Legislation sponsored by Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz to ban synthetic marijuana passes Florida Legislature

(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- 
Legislation pushed by Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz to ban the substance K2, a synthetic marijuana, has been passed by the Florida Legislature on Saturday, May 7, 2011. Last July, Commissioner Diaz sponsored a resolution urging the Florida Legislature and the Florida Attorney General to ban the sale, use and possession of K2 and other synthetic marijuana-like drugs. The State bill to ban the substance is currently waiting the signature of Governor Rick Scott.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), K2 or "Spice" is a mixture of herbs and spices that is typically sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. K2 is often sold in tobacco shops, retail stores, and online, and marketed as incense or "fake weed."

Florida's H.B. 39 adds K2 to Florida's Schedule I of Controlled Substances, where drugs such as marijuana and cocaine currently appear.  Actual or constructive possession is punishable as a third-degree felony, which means up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.  There is an exception for possession of three grams or less of synthetic marijuana that in then considered a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.  This March, the DEA also placed K2 and other synthetic marijuana on the Federal Schedule I of Controlled Substances.

"Unlike marijuana, little is known about the toxicity of K2 or its short- or long-term health effects," said Commissioner Diaz. "However, seizures, coma, accelerated heart rate and heightened blood pressure have all been reported, in addition to the usual dangers associated with impaired judgment and motor skills from a person getting high. I'm happy that our State legislators have seen just how dangerous this substance is and have taken the necessary steps to prevent it from being available in Florida."

For more information, please contact Commissioner Diaz's office at 305-599-1200.


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