Ocean City bans synthetic marijuana

Officials in the beach resort town of Ocean City have banned synthetic marijuana.

Mayor Rick Meehan signed an emergency ordinance Tuesday banning the sale, possession and manufacturing of K2 and other substances sometimes known as "spice" that contain marijuana imitations or hallucinogenic agents, and any associated paraphernalia. The town council had approved the measures.

Councilman Joe Hall dissented, saying he preferred to wait for state action. But Meehan says that could take months and Ocean City shouldn't wait.

The council encouraged police to begin searching boardwalk stores for the substance immediately.

Worcester State's Attorney Beau Oglesby says he's optimistic the ordinance will have an immediate impact on what he considers to be a "very real problem" in Ocean City. He believes that county officials will consider a county-wide ban.

The fake marijuana, sold in drug paraphernalia shops and on the Internet, is marketed under various brands, including Spice, K2, Blaze and Red X Dawn. The products contain organic leaves coated with chemicals that provide a marijuana-like high when smoked.

In March, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration banned for at least a year the sale of the five chemicals used in herbal blends to make synthetic marijuana.

DEA officials noted dangerous reactions in users, including seizures, hallucinations and dependency. Baltimore County banned spice last year. This past winter, eight Naval Academy midshipmen were expelled for using or possessing it and this year, more than a dozen have been discharged from the Navy.