LANSING – State Representative George T. Darany (D-Dearborn) today introduced legislation, with bi-partisan support, that will help combat the sale and use of herbal mixtures and other products that contain synthetic cannabinoids. House Bill 5709 would require that the Michigan Department of Community Health, in cooperation with the State Police, analyze the content of the herbal mixtures and create a written report of its findings.

“Unfortunately, here in Dearborn we are familiar with the devastating effects caused by the use of synthetic drugs like K 2 or Spice,” Darany said. “However, this problem is not limited to our community. We have seen a surge in the sale and use of these dangerous substances throughout the state and it is imperative that we provide the necessary tools to help get these extremely hazardous drugs out of our communities.”

Under a Michigan law passed in September 2010 the possession or use of certain synthetic drugs was banned. Earlier this year there was also legislation introduced that would update Michigan’s law so that the penalties for the sale and use of certain synthetic drugs would be similar to that for other Schedule 1 controlled substances. However, manufacturers have been able to get around the law by simply changing the chemical makeup and the ingredients in the herbal mixtures and synthetic cannabinoids. Requiring a detailed analysis and report of these substances will be a useful tool in regulating the sale and use of these materials.

“It is no secret that these synthetic drugs have been marketed to our teens and young people,” Darany said. “And because these chemical cocktails consistently undergo changes these substances are often just as dangerous, if not more so, than the drugs they intend to copy. It is crucial in the fight against these substances that we understand the makeup of these mixtures and their major physiological and psychological implications. My bill attacks the problem with this issue in mind. It will be an essential piece of the puzzle and will compliment changes already in play for the current state law. This legislation is an important step in helping our law enforcement officials protect our families and communities.”