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Synthetic Marijuana Arrests

There’s nationwide attention being paid to designer drugs that imitate the effects of marijuana. The products use compounds related to THC (the active substance in weed) but which do not show up as positives on urine drug tests. The nationwide effort, dubbed Project Synergy, is using law enforcement agencies in 35 states, along with federal policing resources to interdict these products, said to originate in China and spread throughout the US. In Connecticut, the synthetic marijuana is also illegal, but our efforts come with regular law enforcement with a typical operation consisting of a tip followed by an undercover purchase and then an arrest. Business owners face both arrest, fines and, probably just as damaging – confiscation of property under drug forfeiture laws. According to The Day, brands of fake marijuana sold in Connecticut include: Scooby Snax, OMG and WTF as well as “national” brands, K-2 and Spice. In our state, these products represent a new front in the war on drugs, since the “dealers” aren’t gang members on a street corner, but regular retailers who may even think the drugs are legal to sell. Bans only went into place last year in Connecticut. One case, which illustrates the trend, happened last week in Est Lyme. Souhail S. Elkhoury, the owner of Corey’s Petroleum, is charged with selling narcotics after Groton Town Police (with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service) seized 102 packets from the store. Undercover officers had made three purchases at the location before serving the search warrant. <?p> The Navy’s involvement probably stems from the popularity of synthetics among servicemen and women. Because the drugs do not trigger a drug test, servicemembers feel they can risk getting high without consequences. In the case above, the store clerk asked one undercover officer if he was in the Navy, and, reassured by the officer that he was, then sold him a glass pipe to smoke the product along with some “Scooby Snax.”


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