New Hampshire Gov. Declares State of Emergency over Synthetic Marijuana

Authorities in New Hampshire are reacting to dozens of overdoses from a synthetic marijuana called "Smacked," prompting Governor Maggie Hassan to declare a state of emergency.

The drug is being peddled stealthily, sold in corner stores reportedly as "potpourri." It can be ingested or smoked but is not as benign as mere marijuana. At least 44 New Hampshirites have overdosed on the drug.

The state of emergency allows public health officials to work with local police to investigate any store selling the drug.

"The packets contain a potpourri-like substance that is sprayed with chemically engineered substances similar to tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana," Reuters reported Thursday.

"These products pose a serious threat to public health, especially to young people, and it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to combat the recent rash of overdoses," Governor Hassan said in a statement. "In consultation with the New Hampshire Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, public health officials in the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General's office, I have declared a State of Emergency so that we can move quickly to stop the sale of this dangerous substance that has caused an outbreak of serious overdoses."

In the statement, Attorney General Joseph Foster said, "As we have seen in recent days in Manchester and Concord, the misuse of products like 'Smacked!' can cause significant and adverse health risks. Therefore, we are strongly recommending that merchants who have similar products remove them from their shelves and destroy their current inventory. Retailers that continue to knowingly sell these dangerous or illegal products are placed on notice that they could be held responsible for harm caused to a user of the product."

The Governor's declaration will last for 21 days unless terminated early or extended.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.


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