TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey is cracking down on synthetic marijuana.

State Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced on Wednesday that making, possessing or selling such drugs is now a third-degree crime punishable by three to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

The designer drug mimics the effects of pot. It is usually sold in small packets of approximately 500 milligrams to three grams, with brand names such as “K2,” “K3,” “Spice,” “Kush,” “Down 2 Earth,” and “Comatose Candy.”

Officials said the packets contain a mix of herbs and plant materials that have been coated with chemical agents that affect the brain.  The products are often labeled as “incense” or “potpourri.”

Synthetic marijuana has been linked to violent seizures, heart attacks and hallucinations.

“This stuff really can hurt people very badly,” Chiesa told 1010 WINS. “This stuff is bought in a store… and it sounds very innocuous and not life-threatening. The problem is that it is not innocuous, it is life-threatening.”

A recent national study found synthetic marijuana is the third most commonly abused drug by high school seniors, after marijuana and prescription drugs.


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