Synthetic marijuana on the rise in Albany
A new drug called 'spice' is hitting the streets of Albany in what police officials are calling "a disturbing trend." Synthetic marijuana, also known as spice, is made by mixing four or five chemicals with common incense. It may sound simple but drug agents warn it's also very dangerous.
"All of sudden now, every time we turn around, we're hearing about it or seeing it," said Major Bill Berry of the Albany Drug Unit, which made its biggest synthetic marijuana bust back on February 1st. That's when interdiction agents pulled over a car driven by 27-year-old Jasen Whitaker on Skylark Lane.
Bill Berry: "After they made the stop for some traffic violations, they found this pound and a quarter of what we call spice or K-2," said Berry. "It is the new form of synthetic marijuana."
The spice has an estimated street value of $6,000 but Whitaker was not arrested until February 23rd â" three weeks later. That's because there is no existing field test for spice and samples must be sent to the GBI for verification.
Whitaker is charged with possession of a controlled substance, improper parking, and reckless driving.
Drug agents told us more and more of the substance isn't being sold on the streets, it's being sold in cyberspace. "You can punch it up online and get thousands of sites that are selling it," said Captain Andy Exum.
Exum says the widespread availability of spice could also make it lethal. "You don't ever know what's been sprayed on it because it's the chemical that's sprayed on it that's the problem and you're really trusting your life to someone who may have sprayed too much on it," said Exum.
Whitaker is now free on $3200 bond.
Berry told FOX 31 that the Georgia Narcotics Officers Association is lobbying the state legislature for tougher penalties regarding synthetic marijuana. .