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Police: Pasadena stores selling bath salts, synthetic marijuana

Dale Lezo, Houston Chronicle
Published 2:10 pm, Thursday, July 25, 2013

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  • Kush or synthetic marijuana seized during raids on businesses in Pasadena Tuesday. Photo: PPD
    Kush or synthetic marijuana seized during raids on businesses in Pasadena Tuesday. Photo: PPD

 

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Pasadena police recently raided businesses that were allegedly selling illegal smoking products, commonly known as synthetic marijuana, in violation of a city ordinance, officials said.

The raids occurred Tuesday at the A 2 Z store at 1625 Pasadena Blvd. and the shuttered AK store next door at 1627 Pasadena Blvd, according to the Pasadena Police Department.

Officers with the department's Narcotics Task Force seized 5,800 packets of different varieties of Kush and Bath Salts, which have a total value of about $120,000. They also confiscated an undisclosed amount of cash.

So far, no charges have been filed in the case.

According to the Office of National Drug Policy Control, synthetic marijuana is made of plant material that has been mixed with synthetic substances that users claim mimics the effect of the active ingredient in natural cannabis.

Several state and local public health authorities have issued warnings about the adverse health effects of so-called synthetic marijuana.

The effects, officials said, include agitation, extreme nervousness, nausea, vomiting, fast heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, tremors and seizures, hallucinations and dilated pupils.

Officials said 2011 data about the use of synthetic marijuana among young people showed 11.4 percent of 12th-graders used Spice or K2, a common name for synthetic marijuana, in the past year, making it the second most commonly used illicit drug among high school seniors.

Officials said bath salts contain man-made chemicals related to amphetamines that often consist of methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, and methylone, also known as substituted cathinones.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, officials added, the number of calls to poison control centers nationwide concerning bath salt use increased by more than 20 times in 2011, up from 304 in 2010 to 6,138,