To combat the sale of synthetic marijuana, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday the city has been organizing a multiagency attack, which led to the massive takedown earlier this week and fewer emergency room visits.
The initiative, which started in July, includes the Drug Enforcement Administration and the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. On Wednesday, 10 men were charged with running a synthetic marijuana ring that sold more than a quarter million retail packets.
“K2 is poison and selling it will not be tolerated in New York City,” de Blasio said in a statement. “This multiagency effort is aggressively focusing on neighborhoods hardest hit by this toxic drug, ensuring that sellers are shut down and vulnerable user populations are connected to care. We will not stop until K2 is no longer harming New Yorkers.”
The initiative will include a public awareness campaign to try and prevent people from using the drug, which is popularly sold in bodegas. The mayor’s administration is also working with the City Council to create legislation that will increase penalties for the sale of K2, authorities said.
According to the mayor’s office, there have been more than 3,000 synthetic marijuana-related emergency department visits, and more than 1,200 in July.