3 synthetic marijuana overdoses prompt search

Three synthetic marijuana overdose incidents in Michigan have prompted police to search several convenience stores in Branch County. The searches did not result in the seizure of any synthetic marijuana, a drug that was banned in Michigan in 2012. Over the past year, numerous drug possession cases in Branch County District Court have involved synthetic marijuana that was brought back from Indiana.

The first two overdose incidents happened at around 10 p.m. on Dec. 13 when emergency personnel came to the aid of two brothers. The young men were taken to Community Health Center of Branch County, and one was later airlifted to Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo. The following night at around 9 p.m., a 22-year-old man was found unconscious in a house with synthetic marijuana. A bag of hydrocodone was also found in the man's possession.

Possession of synthetic drugs can result in misdemeanor charges, but distribution of synthetic marijuana can be charged as a felony. Synthetic marijuana, also called K2 or spice, can cause elevated heart rate, panic attacks, seizures and delusions. In 2014, a man who was under the influence of synthetic marijuana was found at a gas station trying to light emergency flares.

Synthetic drugs are often created to bypass existing laws about controlled substances. A person who has been charged for possession of a synthetic drug may not have actually violated the law if the drug in question was not yet illegal. A criminal defense attorney may assist people who have been charged for synthetic drug possession by arguing that they were not in possession of a controlled substance.

Source: The Daily Reporter, " MSP, three overdose on synthetic marijuana," Don Reid, Dec. 20, 2015