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Ban on synthetic marijuana launched by Warren County leaders

Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan talks of how the use of synthetic marijuana and herbal incense producte has been linked to violent and brutal crimes as well as suicidal urges and various health problems — and is a fast-growing problem among youth in the area. State Trooper James West (right) listens to Hogan’s observations, before telling county supervisors about his own similar experiences in dealing with suspects who’ve ingested the substances.

Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan talks of how the use of synthetic marijuana and herbal incense producte has been linked to violent and brutal crimes as well as suicidal urges and various health problems — and is a fast-growing problem among youth in the area. State Trooper James West (right) listens to Hogan’s observations, before telling county supervisors about his own similar experiences in dealing with suspects who’ve ingested the substances. Photo by Thom Randall.

— After hearing compelling details about the link between synthetic marijuana and violent crimes, Warren County supervisors endorsed a proposed law banning the substances.

The supervisors serving on the county Legislative and Criminal Justice committees voted unanimously Tuesday March 27 to enact a law prohibiting the sale, use, possession or distribution of synthetic marijuana and herbal incense.

The proposed law is now headed or the full county Board of Supervisors at their April 20 meeting, and the board is expected to set a public hearing on the law for mid-May. The law could be in effect in late May.

At the March 27 meeting, county District Attorney Kate Hogan and state Trooper James West described how the various synthetic marijuana substances — now readily available in “head” shops, tobacco outlets and convenience stores — that when ingested can promp violent, criminal behavior as well as psychotic reactions, thoughts of suicide and hallucinations.

Hogan spoke of two recent cases in which men committed violent crimes under the influence of synthetic marijuana.

She talked of an 18-year-old man, considered normally a kind, calm person, who under the drug’s influence stabbed his mother with a knife 13 times, causing severe injuries. She noted he was recently sent to state prison for five years.

Hogan also spoke of how a man — now serving a 10-year prison sentence — brutally beat a woman and a small child after smoking the substance.

Hogan and West said that such synthetic marijuana substitutes were becoming prevalent in schools, and were causing grave concerns among school administrators. It is sold under the trade names “Posh, “Wicked X,” “K2” and many others.

West talked about how he had responded to an emergency call to find a 14-year-old boy under the influence who was totally out of control and expressing thoughts of committing murder.

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