“Spice” Prosecutions Hit Snags as Makers Alter Formulas to Avoid Law


“Spice” is back, says the Washington Post. Just months after dozens of states banned synthetic marijuana, the chemists who make it have found a way to outfox lawmakers. Spice manufacturers, who spray herbs with compounds that mimic the active ingredient in marijuana, altered their recipes enough to skirt the bans and are again openly marketing spice in stores and on the Web. Some users say the new generation of products could be more potent than the original formulas, which have sickened hundreds and been linked to deaths.

Prosecutions of three large spice busts in Virginia have hit roadblocks because the spice that police seized does not contain banned chemicals listed in state law. Authorities in Florida, Indiana, Illinois, and Alaska have encountered similar problems. “I don't know whether we are going to be able stay one step ahead of these chemists,” said Richard Trodden, Arlington County prosecutor and a member of Virginia's crime commission.

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