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State moves against synthetic marijuana

With "synthetic pot" being seen as an increasing health problem among young people, Albany yesterday barred sale of the material and is working on making its sale a crime.

The fake pot is made in China using a constantly shifting array of chemicals sprayed on a variety of vegetation and then put into brightly labeled bags aimed at young people.

Just about everyone between 12 and 20 entering a local drug and alcohol treatment center has used the material.

Erie County Health Commissioner Doctor Gale Burstein says the material is hugely popular and hugely dangerous.

"Very fast heart rate, paranoid behavior, agitation," are among the more moderate side effects, but Burstein warns "they can also cause renal failure and even death."            

Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard says his deputies are seeing more and more of the material.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.