Jindal, state officials ban new synthetic pot compound
BATON ROUGE - Gov. Bobby Jindal along with state health officials and police announced the ban of a new synthetic marijuana compound on Wednesday afternoon.
The new compound, known as "MAB-CHMINACA", is yet another chemical compound that authorities determined to be a key precursor in the production of illegal products sold under street names like Mojo and Spice. According to a La. Department of Health and Hospitals spokesperson, the newer compound is no safer than previous offerings and has now been linked to more than 125 residents of the Baton Rouge area seeking treatment at local hospitals since Oct. 3.
The ban officially adds MAB-CHMINACA to the list of prohibited Schedule 1 Controlled Dangerous Substances within state boundaries. Louisiana State Police say they will do everything they can to ensure individuals caught engaging in the sale or abuse of the substance to be punished to the full extent provided by the law.
The latest ban is now part of a series of an anti-Mojo blitz launched by the governor's office, DHH officials, LSP, crime labs, local hospitals and parish coroner's offices to identify and apply appropriate restrictions to the unregulated and ever advancing scourge of the designer drug type in Louisiana's borders. The assault on Mojo began earlier this year when DHH banned the first set of two synthetic marijuana compounds in March 2014 and followed up with an additional ban on two more frequently encountered compounds later in July.
MAB-CHMINACA has been identified by crime labs in the Baton Rouge and Shreveport metro areas, and while the compound is sometimes sold legally as "potpourri" that is prominently labelled as "not for human consumption" bearing brand names like Spice, Mojo, K2 and Scooby Snax. The rise in hospital visits by users of the now banned substance clearly indicates the need for the intervention of governmental, health and law enforcement departments to curb the synthetic pot epidemic before further lives are claimed.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers first encountered synthetic cannabinoids in the U.S. in 2009, and a high-stakes "Whack-A-Mole" game between state authorities and synthetic pot producers has persisted unabated as producers and promoters of the illicit products find ways around new regulatory measures. Producers adjust the chemistry of their products to skirt the rules, then reintroduce them to the market until regulators catch up.
Health officials said such products are often packaged without clear dosage guidelines due to the clandestine nature of the relatively primitive manufacturing process along with irresponsible packaging design that attempts to mute or make light of the physical and mental health risks posed by the psychoactive drug contained within.
Health risks and side effects associated with the freshly banned MAB-CHMINACA compound closely resemble those of compounds banned earlier this year with direct health risks including:
*Severe agitation, anxiety and paranoia
*Fast, racing heartbeat and elevated blood pressure
*Nausea and vomiting
*Muscle spasms, seizures and tremors
*Intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes
*Hallucinations escalating to suicidal fixations along with other harmful thoughts and/or actions
State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry said, "Synthetic marijuana is just that, synthetic. It is a toxic dose of chemicals mixed in labs and sold under names like Mojo and Spice, but it is not natural nor is it safe. I'm incredibly grateful for the guidance of Louisiana Poison Control and law enforcement across Louisiana who have helped us to identify this new compound. Working together is essential to the protecting our residents from dangerous designer drugs."