NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — In spite of a New York State Health Department order telling stores to stop selling synthetic marijuana, it is still available. The product has been found in stores all around New York, from bodegas in the Bronx to gas stations on Long Island.
Merchants who have complied with the order and stopped selling it told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff that the letter has no teeth.
“I just picture people who throw it in the garbage and say I’ll keep selling this ’til someone comes and confiscates it,” said Mark Levine, the owner of Utopia.
Synthetic marijuana looks like the real thing and is smoked in the same manner. It is given names like K2 and spice, and is laced with chemicals that produce a potentially dangerous high.
Dr Jeffrey Reynolds, of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency told CBS 2 that, “over the last few months we have seen new data about heart attacks and kidney damage in young people.”
Until March synthetic marijuana was sold legally, it has only recently become illegal in Suffolk County. Nassau County lawmakers are trying to make it illegal because the Health Department order does not carry any penalties.
A gas station in Hicksville, Long Island sold synthetic marijuana to CBS 2 cameraman Joe Garufi. When confronted the store owner claimed that there was a two-week window for stores to sell their remaining stock, but the Health Department said that the ban is immediate.
The continued sale of synthetic marijuana, despite the letter, is the reason that lawmakers and law-abiding merchants say the status quo is not working.
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