The Department of State Health Services announced Wednesday that it is outlawing marijuanalike substances commonly found in K2, Spice, “herbal incense” and other synthetic marijuana products. The ban takes effect Friday.
It will be illegal to make, distribute, possess or sell those substances. Penalties are Class A or B misdemeanors, according to a news release posted on the health department’s website.
The action follows the lead of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which prohibited the substances March 2, health department spokeswoman Christine Mann said. State law requires the health department to consider banning any substances the DEA has forbidden, she said.
The state ban covers five chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, Mann said. They are: JWH -018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497 and cannabicyclohexanol. The chemicals are listed as Schedule I, the most restrictive category on the Texas Schedules of Controlled Substances.
Herbal incense generally is sold online, in head shops and at some gas stations, Mann said.
The penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is a fine of up to $4,000, jail time of up to a year or both. For a Class B misdemeanor, the maximum punishment is a $2,000 fine and a jail term of up to 180 days.
She added that it was coincidental that the announcement of the ban fell on 4/20, a day associated with marijuana smoking. “Tomorrow is a state holiday, San Jacinto Day, and Friday is Good Friday, an optional state holiday, so it fell to today,” she said.
Since January 2010, the Texas Poison Center Network reported 600 calls related to K2, the department said. Health effects can include chest pain, heart palpitations, agitation, drowsiness, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and confusion, according to the news release.