Md. Cracks Down On Synthetic Pot Sales In Wake Of Spice-Related Dangers

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Spice, synthetic marijuana
Derek Valcourt 370x278 Derek Valcourt
Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)—A Baltimore County store manager pleads guilty to selling so-called synthetic marijuana from his Towson convenience store.

Derek Valcourt  explains how state lawmakers are taking action.

Lawmakers are now taking synthetic marijuana so seriously that the House and Senate just voted unanimously to ban its sale in Maryland.

Commonly called “spice,” it’s sold in convenience stores with brand names like K-2, Sonic Zero and Scooby snacks.

Some packages even have Disney characters on them inside chemically altered plant leaves that when smoked simulate the effects of marijuana, but health officials warn this synthetic pot can be dangerous.

Its use has already led to thousands of hospital emergency room visits and has been blamed for several deaths, including 18-year-old David Rozga, who killed himself while high.

“It takes away your sense of reality and puts you in such a terrible place that you’ll do anything to get away from it,” said Michael Rozga, victim’s father.

When spice made a Towson University student sick last May, Baltimore County police investigated a supermarket on York Road and arrested store manager, 59-year-old Lyaktaly Jamal, for breaking a county law forbidding the sale of synthetic marijuana.

Jamal and his family no longer own the store on York Road. It’s under new management, and the new owner says even though they don’t sell the synthetic drugs, they are still getting customers coming in and asking for it.

“We’ve known this was a problem for a while,” said Scott Shellenberger, Baltimore County State’s Attorney.

Shellenberger is pleased to see state lawmakers are taking action and says Jamal’s arrest should serve as a warning.

The Towson store manager convicted of selling spice in Baltimore County will face two years of probation.

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