Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law Wednesday another ban on synthetic marijuana, touting it as a new tool for law enforcement officials struggling to go after the evolving chemical configurations that make up synthetic drugs.
Brewer said the state’s previous ban on synthetic drugs was “frequently thwarted” by drug-makers who modify the composition of their products to avoid breaking the law.
“The production and use of these synthetic drugs is a growing epidemic in Arizona and nationwide, and poses a threat to our citizens,” Brewer said in a statement.
The new law expands the state’s definition of dangerous drugs to include chemical configurations that make up “spice,” ”K2,” ”bath salts,” and other synthetic drugs. It took effect immediately.
It bans “any material, compound, mixture or preparation which contains any quantity of cannabimimetic substances and their salts, isomers… and salts of isomers.”
The white-powder drug gives users a high similar to those consuming cocaine or methamphetamine. Doctors and police say bath salts can cause paranoia, hallucinations, violent behavior, kidney failure, cardiac arrest and death.
Last year, doctors from the Yavapai Regional Medical Center and the Verde Valley Medical Center said the county’s emergency rooms were averaging 20 admissions per week of people under the influence of the drugs.
Roughly 41 states have banned spice, including Arizona.
Last year, President Barack Obama signed a federal law banning synthetic marijuana and other such drugs. The ban placed 26 substances in the federal list of Schedule 1 controlled dangerous substances.