Following the near fatality of a Hastings teenager in 2010, Senator Katie Sieben (DFL-Cottage Grove) announced her intent to make synthetic marijuana illegal. The Minnesota State Senate passed legislation today making the sale of synthetic marijuana a gross misdemeanor and any possession of synthetic marijuana a misdemeanor.
“This product is clearly dangerous and should be illegal. We have seen too many teenagers sent to the emergency room, in comas, or even dying from this drug,” said Sen. Sieben. “I am pleased the Senate passed the legislation to make this dangerous drug illegal. I thank the Cottage Grove and Hastings Police Departments as well as Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom for their help in raising awareness of the need for this bill. Also, Stacy Huberty, the nurse and mother from Hastings who courageously advocated for this change, deserves credit for the bill’s passage. She helped make Minnesota safer for children and young adults by being a strong voice for the removal of this dangerous drug from smoke shops and convenience stores.”
Synthetic marijuana is often known as “Spice” or “K2” and is packed and sold as herbal incense. It is made up of herbs and synthetic compounds that are similar to THC, the natural chemical found in marijuana. However, the synthetic drug produces much stronger and more dangerous side effects, including heart palpitations, respiratory issues, vomiting, agitation, panic attacks and delusions.
“This is a bipartisan bill that I was happy to support,” said Sen. Sieben. “The passage of this bill is in large part due to the advocacy of citizens and law enforcement officials in our part of the state.”