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Wisconsin lawmaker seeks statewide ban on synthetic marijuana

We have previously reported on efforts to ban synthetic marijuana in Wisconsin. Individual cities have enacted their own bans, but synthetic marijuana - sometimes called "K2" or "Spice" - has yet to be banned statewide.

A new piece of legislation seeks to change that. One Wisconsin lawmaker is introducing a bill that would outlaw synthetic marijuana for the whole state. It would also create criminal penalties for possession and sale the drug.

The legislator responsible for the bill noted that "Synthetic marijuana is becoming a real problem drug and like the real stuff it mimics, needs to be made illegal."

At the same time, there are opponents of the bill. They note that drugs such as synthetic pot are the natural result of lawmakers who first banned the natural form of marijuana. Opponents believe that these drug laws have only achieved the replacement of natural cannabis - the effects of which have been highly studied - with synthetic cannabinoids, which have been minimally studied.

So many cities have already enacted their own bans on synthetic marijuana that many Wisconsin residents would be unaffected by a statewide ban. In a previous post, we noted that these piecemeal bans by individual cities were actually creating legal hazards for those who use or sell synthetic marijuana.

Last November, a woman was arrested for selling synthetic marijuana out of her van in Shorewood, which had just passed a ban on the drug. The woman mistakenly thought she had crossed the border into Whitefish Bay, which had no ban.

A statewide ban would eliminate legally-confusing situations such as this. The bill to ban synthetic marijuana statewide will receive a public hearing at the State Capitol on April 21st.

Source: examiner.com, "Wisconsin bill banning 'fake marijuana' to get public hearing," Gary Storck, 12 April 2011

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