Less than 24 hours after Gov. Nathan Deal declared emergency rule against any substances posing health dangers, the LaGrange Police Drug Division seized almost $7,000 worth of synthetic marijuana. The substance was seized from a single convenience store at approximately 10 a.m. Wednesday.
The 120-day emergency rule is a result of a second generation of synthetic marijuana, produced after a law banned the substance March 27. Chase’s law, named for a teen who died after smoking the substance, added to a list of ingredients that make it illegal.
“Manufacturers started finding other ways to make it right away,” Lt. Chad Mann of the Troup County Sheriff’s Office said. “They are using different ingredients to get the same effect.”
Commonly labeled “potpourri,” synthetic marijuana has since been linked to two hospitalizations in LaGrange and more than 100 in Georgia.
Prices ranging from $20-50, and labeled by grams per bag, the similarities of marijuana and synthetic substances labeled “potpourri” are hard to ignore.
“I don’t know anyone who buys potpourri by the gram,” Sgt. Mark Cavender of the LaGrange Police Department said. “None of it smells good at all and it actually looks and smells like marijuana when it’s burned.”
Another makeshift drug is becoming more popular on the streets.
Mixers for a dangerous drug called ‘purple drank’ are also appearing in convenience stores. The mixture of Sprite and Jolly Ranchers is safe and legal, until combined with codeine-based cough syrup.
“More of the medication is absorbed as a liquid, and it’s absorbed much faster,” Cavender said. He said another danger is the amount of prescription cough syrup used.
Also known as “syrup” or “lean”, purple drank is often linked to marijuana use. The combination of the two depressants causes users to report a euphoric feeling.
According to police, a LaGrange man was arrested and charged with possession of a schedule 2 narcotic, after a bottle of Sprite tested positive for codeine at his home in March.
“He told me it was a drink he learned to make in prison,” Cavender said. “There is no telling what’s in unregulated drugs, and if people knew, they probably wouldn’t do them.”