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Emergency Regulation Bans New Forms of Synthetic Marijuana in Kentucky
Posted in Litigation

On Tuesday, Dec. 18, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear signed emergency regulations banning new forms of synthetic marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is made of legal chemicals, but mimics the effects of cocaine, methamphetamine and other controlled substances. The regulations, which take effect immediately, are intended to step up the fight against synthetic drugs and are generally aimed at people trying to avoid arrest by tweaking drugs that mimic the highs of marijuana.

The governor told reporters: "This measure lets us keep pace with backyard chemists who try to skirt the law by manipulating the formulas of dangerous substances . . . And it gives us the tools to respond to threats as soon as they are identified."

The use of these drugs, also referred to as potpourri, has increased in recent years. The substances are often sold at small, independent stores in packaging that suggests common household items like bath salts, incense and plant food. The substances have been linked to bizarre and violent behavior across the country.

The governor's action follows efforts by Kentucky drug enforcement officials who identified new forms of synthetic marijuana that were not listed by state law as banned substances.

Kentucky has never before used an administrative regulation to outlaw synthetic substances. Previously, it was left to the Kentucky legislature to pass laws banning such drugs. The governor’s office advised that using regulations allows the state to be more nimble in the fight against these synthetic drugs.

If convicted of selling synthetic drugs, the penalties can include forfeiture of property, fines, jail time and loss of alcohol sale licenses.

  • Partner

    Christie practices in the area of white collar crime defense and complex commercial litigation, representing clients in health care, antitrust, securities, intellectual properties, RICO, and False Claims Act matters. She has ...

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