Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announces new legislative efforts to combat synthetic marijuana

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a new effort to combat synthetic marijuana Monday.

DeWine said he will propose legislation to speed up the process of banning new chemicals being used to make the drug.

During an exclusive NewsChannel5 investigation in May, our investigative team went undercover to show how easy it is for Ohio stores to sell legal forms of synthetic marijuana.Our team purchased packets labeled potpourri and incense and took them to the state's crime lab. The state's scientists quickly identified legal forms of synthetic marijuana had been sprayed onto the products.

The Ohio legislature banned dozens of versions of synthetic marijuana in December, but DeWine said the chemists who created the drugs have managed to stay one step ahead.

"The chemists who make these drugs are certainly very clever. They skirt the laws by creating new chemicals that do not fall under the ban and the procedure to ban these chemicals is, frankly, cumbersome," DeWine said.

DeWine said the new legislation would request the state be allowed to immediately ban the chemicals once they are deemed dangerous. He said the drafting of the legislation is still in the early stages.  

Synthetic marijuana is often solid in square packets or vials with names that sound innocent, like Mr. Nice Guy. The drugs are most commonly sold at head shops, gas stations and convenience stores.

The packets and vials usually contain herbs or spices that have been sprayed with man-made chemicals. DeWine said the chemicals can make users paranoid, psychotic and can even be deadly.

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