It’s becoming more and more clear that we’re approaching the precipice of widespread legal marijuana legislation. We’ve read countless reports about the improving economies of our grassier, 420-friendly destinations like Colorado and Washington, and even the New York Times has come out in support of marijuana legalization. And, as if any more incentive was needed, it turns out that New York has seen a 220% increase of synthetic weed hospitalizations in the first half of 2014.
Since last Thursday, the Department of Health has reported fifteen hospitalizations from fake pot, despite the substance having been banned two years ago. The “incense,” as it’s labeled, is a grab bag of assorted dried herbs and plants (resembling the cheesy bags of “weed” used as props in shows like Freaks and Geeks), then sprayed with chemicals X, Y, and Z to give it that sickly sweet smell—as well as one apparently fucking crazy high. Symptoms range from paranoia and drowsiness (normal enough) to seizures, hallucinations, and loss of consciousness (uh, not normal at all), and occasionally fatality (we only ever thought we were dying).
Just yesterday, the New York Times, declared their support for legalizing marijuana in part one of a six-part editorial series, comparing the ban to Prohibition, which led to a time in which people (arguably) consumed more amounts of alcohol and led to a rise in organized crime and illegal trafficking (sound familiar?). As the editorial pointed out: “Creating systems for regulating manufacture, sale and marketing will be complex. But those problems are solvable, and would have long been dealt with had we as a nation not clung to the decision to make marijuana production and use a federal crime.” Plus, you know, if New Yorkers are desperate enough for the munchies to smoke the perfumed clippings of “Strawberry Funky Monkey XXX” or whatever, there’s even more of a case to legalize and legislate marijuana.
Follow Brie Roche-Lilliott on Twitter @BrieRocheL