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State Commissioner of Health issues immediate ban on synthetic marijuana

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Albany/HV: State Commissioner of Health issues immediate ban on synthetic marijuana
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The State Health Commissioner issues an immediate ban on the sale of synthetic marijuana. YNN's Beth Croughan has more on what it is and where it was being sold.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- "Because this is a family store, there are kids coming here," said Mohammad Ali, the owner of the Vliet Mart in Cohoes.

That's why he said he decided not to sell synthetic marijuana. Friday, an Albany County Health inspector visited the store to make sure it isn't on his shelves.

"If it's out there, if you have any of it destroy it, throw it away. It's really, really harmful," said Albany County Public Health Technician Margaret Kehn.

It's one of 80 inspected in Albany County after the State Health Commissioner issues an immediate ban on the sale of products like "K2" and "Spice." They're made of plant material coated in chemicals and are being used as a "legal alternative" to marijuana.

"Some of the packages even say on it not for human consumption. But that's more of a technique for them to disguise it. And the kids get it, they're smoking it, they're putting it in water pipes," said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.

Apple said the Drug Enforcement Administration is calling it a controlled substance. So along with making it illegal to sell, he said it's also illegal to have.

"There's nothing right now saying that we can't go forth, based on the DEA making this an emergency, scheduled controlled substance in schedule one, saying that we can't charge for criminal possession of a controlled substance at this point," he said.

There's also serious side effects. Health officials said users could experience nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness, even death. If you know of any store still selling the product, contact your county department of health.

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