Governor Maggie Hassan has declared a state of emergency in the wake of more than 40 synthetic marijuana overdose cases since Monday.
Synthetic cannabinoids, also known as spice, has been linked to a jump in overdoses in Manchester and Concord. The powers of Governor Hassan’s executive order to seize the drug sold ostensibly as incense in corner stores, applies only to the bubblegum-flavored variety of a brand called ‘Smacked!.’ Health Commissioner Nick Toumpas says other brands called ‘Green Giant’ and ‘Crazy Monkey’ may also be dangerous.
“We now need to do our work in terms of doing the testing, making sure that there’s notification out there about what the dangers of this are, and try to appeal to the retailers who many not even know what the implications are of what it is that they’re selling.”
While attempts to control similar substances have been made in the past, chemists skirt the law by reformulating the compound. Individuals suffering from overdoses are often found lethargic and unresponsive. Though no deaths related to the drug have been reported in New Hampshire so far, spice has been known to cause brain damage or blindness in extreme cases.