Synthetic Cannabis Deaths Show Case for Controlled Sale of Marijuana, Expert Says

The deaths of two men in central Queensland after they smoked synthetic cannabis highlight the need to regulate marijuana and allow its controlled sale, the president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation says.

Dr Alex Wodak said it was extremely difficult to determine the substances in synthetic cannabis, making its effects unpredictable and treatment for unwanted reactions difficult.

The men died after smoking a product called Full Moon, sold in sex shops as herbal tea. One of the men collapsed after taking just one draw of smoke and never regained consciousness, Queensland police told reporters on Thursday.

Wodak, an addiction specialist, said people were drawn to synthetic drugs because they could be easier to obtain and because of the misguided perception they were legal and safe.

“This is for me a strong argument for accepting the futility of current approaches to tackling drugs and trying to do something that will be effective,” Wodak said.

“That means undermining the black market by having a regulated approach to cannabis that includes taxing it.”

Wodak said regulation could make it an offence to sell to people under a certain age and to pregnant women. Packaging should carry warning labels alerting people the product might cause schizophrenia and information on where to find help for consumers who felt they might be addicted, he said.

– Read the entire article at The Guardian.