Synthetic pot challenges law enforcement

Local News

MACON COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Synthetic marijuana is becoming a growing problem across the country and locally.

So far, more than 100 people in Central Illinois and the Chicago-area have had severe bleeding from it. At least three people in the state have died, but police are having a tough time getting it off the streets.

Busts are happening, slowly. Monday night, a 71-year old woman was arrested for selling it out of a Springfield store.

A Decatur store owner pleaded guilty to doing the same thing. But Tuesday, Macon County Sheriff Howard Buffett says it’s a crime which can be easier to get away with because there are so many variations of the drug.

It’s also one reason the drug can deal a lot of damage. This convenience store goes by several names. Recently, people have been accused of selling a drug, which comes in many different forms, here.

“They’re easy to get. They can be cheap and they’re also sometimes not as easy to idenfiy.”

Sheriff Buffett says it’s tough to crack the case of synthetic marijuana.

“A lot of times, we’ll have to call one of our drug recognition experts to be able to come in and confirm what the drug is, or we’ll have to test for the drug. Some of these drugs don’t test the way that cocaine, heroin or even marijuana test because they’re the synthetic compounds. They may not even show up on some of our tests.”

So, it takes a bit longer for law enforcement to figure out just what’s in it. Nurse practitioner Cindy Saylors says, changes are, people who use it don’t know either.

“They don’t realize dealers cut the drugs differently, so a dose they can tolerate their first or second or third time is a dose that they cannot tolerate the next time.”

In some cases, it’s been deadly. Saylors says, she hopes it stops here.

“Please stop. It’s lives. It’s changing lvies.”

Another danger for synthetic marijuana is its packaging. It looks like it’s designed for kids with names like Scooby Snax, OMG and Mr. Happy.

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