The word is out about synthetic marijuana. Lawmakers in Tennessee and throughout the country have so far tried their best to outlaw certain chemical compounds that have been proven to be dangerous when consumed. But manufacturers of synthetic marijuana, even as they claim their products are not meant for human consumption, ask whether adult Americans shouldn’t have the right to choose exactly what they put in their bodies.

After all, aren’t alcohol and cigarettes addictive substances? Those products aren’t completely outlawed.

Despite the arguments in favor of synthetic marijuana, statistics show that various chemical compounds that fall under the label of synthetic drugs can have dangerous if not fatal consequences for consumers. In response to what many people feel is a national problem, President Obama recently signed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012. The new law increases penalties for people who are convicted of selling synthetic cannabinoids.

But there is concern that the new law is already obsolete. Makers of synthetic marijuana can easily change the molecular structure of a substance, which means the alleged drug is not included on the list of illegal cannabinoids. This is how manufacturers get around being prosecuted.

You can even look to YouTube for instructions on how to make synthetic marijuana. Only a basic understanding of chemistry is necessary, and that frightens a lot of people who believe increased regulation is needed to prevent dangerous products from going to market.

In the last couple of years, it’s been reported that fake marijuana was the cause of hundreds of emergency room visits and quite a few deaths. That means Memphis residents can expect to see an ongoing battle between law enforcement and the people who manufacture, sell or consume synthetic drugs. One thing is certain: individuals who are concerned about the legality of a particular burnable substance should know exactly where they stand in case the police come knocking.

Source: wknofm.org, “Fake Pot Is A Real Problem For Regulators,” July 12, 2012