Carmel, N.Y. – (6/22/12) – Senator Greg Ball (R,C-Patterson), with various elected officials and members of the law enforcement community hosted a press conference to urge the Assembly and Governor to pass S6694A, legislation that would make the sale of synthetic marijuana illegal in New York State.

Synthetic marijuana or “fake pot” are herbs sprayed with chemicals called “synthetic cannabinoids.” These products include Spice, K2, Cloud 9 and Black 9, and have dangerous side effects, including rapid heart rate, tremors, loss of consciousness and hallucinations. “Bath salts”, or “substituted cathinones,” are chemically related to methamphetamines and ecstasy that also cause harmful physical and psychological reactions.

These substances, generally referred to as synthetic marijuana, consist of plant material coated by chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. These products are being sold as a legal alternative to marijuana in convenience stores, smoke shops, and tobacco stores with different brand names.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law to ban the sale of “bath salts” last year, and just last month the New York State Department of Health banned the sale and distribution of synthetic marijuana through an Order for Summary Action. An Order for Summary Action can be repealed at any time.

“The sad reality is that without immediate action by the Assembly and the Governor there is currently no law on the books attaching criminal penalties to the use, possession and sale of synthetic marijuana,” said Senator Greg Ball. “We have seen horrific consequences, including deaths, this is absolutely no joke and must be on everyone’s radar. As we all know, Marijuana itself is a serious gateway drug and while the marketing of the substance does not indicate it, this new, synthetic drug is even worse. Residents must demand that the Assembly take action to pass our legislation, placing it on the Governor’s desk, making it an actual crime to possess and sell synthetic marijuana. In the meantime, we must work together as a community to alert our children on the severity of this horrible drug.”

“Our main priority in the Town of Carmel is the health, safety and welfare of our residents, visitors and those here doing business,” said Carmel Town Supervisor Ken Schmitt. “Senator Ball’s bill will make synthetic marijuana, which has been proven to be extremely dangerous, illegal. What is currently in place is a watered down version that does not protect the public. I look forward to working with Senator Ball to lobby this bill through the Assembly.”

The president of the New York State Sheriffs Association and Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith was at the press conference to announce that New York State Sheriffs Association fully supports Senator Ball’s legislation.

“We are very pleased that the health department and Governor Cuomo have already taken action but unfortunately, that is not enough,” said Donald B. Smith. “Synthetic marijuana causes affects that are similar to marijuana but also contains toxic ingredients which can cause serious illness or death. We are talking about a substance that is more dangerous than marijuana. We urge the passing of this bill into law. On behalf of the New York State Sheriffs association we support Senator Ball’s efforts in passing this legislation.”

“Over the past few years, the Town of Carmel has committed, through the Special Conditions Unit of the Carmel Police Department to fight against illegal drugs and to keep them off of our streets,” said Carmel Councilman Frank Lombardi. “While I applaud the Governor’s ban of the sale of synthetic marijuana, I believe we need strict criminal penalties for those who sell this poison to our youth.”

“The use and sale of Synthetic Marijuana is a very troubling trend that is permeating our society and having a negative impact upon our youth. These substances, which are being marketed as an herb, can be found in local convenience stores and are readily accessible to the youth in our community. Although the products, such as K2 and Spice are sold as incense, it is clear that this is a thinly veiled representation of products that can induce euphoric or hallucinogenic affects if consumed. The legal use of these substances, which mimic the effects of marijuana, enables young people to consume them without the stigma of being labeled as a drug user. Whether the stigma is present or not, Synthetic Marijuana is still providing a gateway to harder drugs, much in the same way as marijuana. It is this transition that leads individuals to commit crimes, suffer health implications and lowers our overall quality of life,” said Lieutenant Brian D. Karst of the Carmel Police Department. “From a law enforcement standpoint we whole heartedly support any legislation or movement that prevents the sale and use of these dangerous substances.”

For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Krista Gobins at 845-531-9796.


About Greg Ball

Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) is the Senator for New York State's 40th district. A former Vice President of Exceed International Development Corporation, Ball holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the United States Air Force Academy, is currently completing his Masters Thesis of Liberal Studies in International Affairs at Georgetown University, and received an honorable discharge in 2005 at the rank of Captain after service as an active duty officer in the United States Air Force. View all posts by Greg Ball →
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