The New York State Department of Health has issued a statewide health advisory to hospitals, emergency departments and urgent care centers following severe and life-threatening bleeding cases in Illinois, Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri. The Governor and DOH are warning health care providers of an outbreak of patients in other states with severe bleeding due to the consumption of synthetic marijuana believed to be contaminated with rat poison. To date, no cases have been reported in New York State.
Synthetic marijuana is marketed as legal and sold in colorful packets with street names such as K2, Spice and AK-47. These packets typically consist of plant material coated by chemicals, which are supposed to mimic the effects of naturally grown marijuana. This makes synthetic marijuana both extremely unpredictable and dangerous.
Under current law, an owner of an establishment, as well as any other person possessing, distributing, selling or offering prohibited synthetic drugs for sale, will face a fine up to $500 and/or up to 15 days in jail. Civil penalties include a fine up to $2,000 per violation.