Las Vegas’s Weedz store is doing a brisk business in mind-altering substances that are legal, says the Las Vegas Sun. None of the colorful packages under the glass counter contains THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The dried herbs have been treated with chemicals with names like JWH-073 and JWH-018 that when smoked provide a high that the academics who invented it say is more potent than marijuana. This is Nevada's answer to the nationwide movement to legalize marijuana gaining steam nationwide, most notably in California.
Weedz proprietor Steve Vogt says the substances give him a better high than marijuana without the risk of arrest or jail time. “It keeps people out of the (justice) system,” he said. The chemicals in the herbs Vogt and other smoke shops sell – JWH-073 and JWH-018 – are named for John W. Huffman, a 77-year-old chemistry professor at Clemson University who helped synthesize them. The compound is so untested that Huffman thinks it should be classified as a Schedule 1 drug, similar to marijuana, heroin or LSD. “It's dangerous,” Huffman adds. “I mean, you have no idea what the long-term effects of this stuff are.” The drug has “exactly” the same effect as THC, but “is more potent by a factor of 10 – but THC is not very potent.”