Senate passes bill to criminalize synthetic pot
Albany has gotten a step closer to making it a crime for anyone to sell synthetic marijuana in the state.
The State Assembly passed a bill Wednesday that would impose jail time and fines for anyone selling chemical alternatives to THC. In March, the state Department of Health issued a ban on the sale of the substances, but it only carried civil penalties.
"This bill goes a step further by criminalizing the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana to ensure people across the state do not suffer the proven, serious side effects of its use," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said in a statement.
The Senate passed their version of the bill at the end of April. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been outspoken against the sale of synthetic pot, is expected to sign the bill into law, according to his office.
The bill adds several chemical products to the state's list of illegal controlled substances.
More than 30 other states have banned the substance, which used to be sold in area gas stations and delis. The state started to crack down on the sale of synthetic pot after several instances where users were hospitalized with serious side effects.