Synthetic pot poses enforcement dilemma

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Packets of herbal incense/potpourri. Smoking the contents has been said to have similar effects as smoking marijuana.

super strong herbal incense. Local police and a state drug control official agree that no one really knows what chemicals are on a leafy substance inside. It’s billed as super strong incense but authorities suspect it may contain synthetic marijuana, selling as easily as a pack of gum in the Corridor.

Despite a recent state ban on six common chemicals found in these products, marketed as incense or potpourri, Iowa’s law enforcement agencies and prosecutors are struggling to punish offenders. One main reason, according to police in Eastern Iowa, is because they have no test they can administer on the spot when they believe they have found synthetic marijuana in the products. super strong herbal incense

“We have (field testing) for heroin, cocaine, marijuana and LSD,” Hiawatha Police Chief Dennis Marks said. “We have field tests for that, and we’re lacking the test for (synthetic marijuana) right now.”

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[pullout_quote credit=”Doug Woolery, acting director, Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy” align=”right”]The drug control business is a moving target in the best of circumstances. The synthetic drugs make it a very fast-moving target. Faster than what we are accustomed to.[/pullout_quote]Meanwhile, state drug enforcement officials are scrambling to catch up, as synthetic marijuana manufacturers tweak chemical compounds to avoid being caught in illegal activity, such as spraying their chemicals onto the products being sold.

Dale Woolery, acting director of Iowa’s state drug-control office, said about 400 samples of suspected synthetic drugs have been submitted to the state crime lab in Ankeny. So far, most of the chemicals found are not banned in Iowa, but are part of the same synthetic cannabinoid family.

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