Synthetic marijuana, ëbath saltsí outlawed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 1, 2011

By Shelley Smith
SALISBURY ó Itís no longer legal in North Carolina to smoke or possess synthetic marijuana or recreational drugs sold as ěbath saltsî ó both of which mimic effects of marijuana and cocaine.
Under the new law that went into effect Wednesday, the synthetic marijuana ó spice chemical ówill be classified as having a low potential for abuse.
But the so-called ěbath saltsî will be classified as schedule I controlled substances and have a high potential for abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control, drugs sold as ěbath saltsî have no legitimate use for bathing. They contain stimulant compounds and are intended for substance abuse.
Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten says heís glad the law will be enacted since, ěthe instances with folks using these items seems to be increasing rapidly.î Because the drugs were so new to law enforcement agencies, Auten said statistics on their use are unavailable.
ěOfficers are thinking about calls in the past where individuals were paranoid and acting very strange with hallucinations,î he said. ěThese were not documented as bath salts or synthetic marijuana, but very well could have been.î
Auten said the sheriffís office has charged two people with driving while impaired when synthetic marijuana and/or bath salts were used. ěIt is amazing what people are willing to put in their bodies,î he said.
On May 28, Iredell County deputies found teenagers parked on the side of the road injecting bath salts into their arms. On March 16, a Rowan County man led officers on a high-speed chase after smoking synthetic marijuana. He told officers he thought the United States was under an alien invasion and he had to save his girlfriend.
He later vowed to a Post reporter it was his last time using the drug, and supported legislation that would ban it.
One of the ingredients found in bath salts was blamed for the deaths of two N.C. State University students in October of 2010.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.