With Chris, A Legal Alternative User

Synthetic marijuana and other legal alternatives such as bath salts have been in the public forefront recently. Some states are enacting legislation to ban them outright and Minnesota is up next. In April Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill that makes the sale of synthetic marijuana a felony, possessing it a misdemeanor and also classifies it as  a Schedule 1 controlled substance. But with the new legislation comes the retaliation of synthetic drug companies which will be looking for new chemical variations to bypass new laws. In theory, authorities can’t ban companies from making the substances, they can only ban certain chemical combinations that are usually sprayed onto various forms of plant matter that make up the synthetic drug. So when states ban a specific chemical, the companies make up a new concoction that mimics the previous one’s effects. Since  the products are labeled “Not for human consumption” on the package, they are able to bypass the stringent regulatory body of the FDA and other agencies.
Bath salts, a sniffable form of legal alternative designed to mimic cocaine were allegedly the catalyst of a malicious cannibal attack in Florida a few weeks back. Both drugs have numerous effects on the body ranging from hallucinations to violent outbursts to extreme paranoia. I recently had a talk with someone who’s addicted to synthetic marijuana. He’s not a cannibal.

MJ: What first got you into synthetic drugs?
C: Well it’s legal, so that’s nice. I guess I was just curious and a lot of my friends were trying it and said it was awesome.

MJ: Is it pretty awesome?
C: I think it is. It’s a different high then just smoking weed. And I don’t feel I need t be as secretive about it. And I don’t have to go to a drug dealer to get it. I think it’s fun.

MJ: Have you ever hallucinated or felt violent after smoking it?
C: (Laughing) No. Sometimes it’ll make me feel a little anxious and paranoid. But I think that smoking weed does that to people too. Sometimes I feel violent when I gotta wait in that damn line for an hour. (Laughing) But I feel like I could stop if I had to or if I wanted to.

MJ: Minnesota is making it a felony to sell and a misdemeanor to possess synthetic marijuana in August. Are you going to stock up?
C: I heard about that. No. I’ll probably just quit. It’s expensive and I have other habits I have to spend money on. (Laughing)

MJ: Do you think that the ban will have a good effect or a bad effect on Duluth?
C: Who knows, man. A lot of these people are already junkies and drunks. They just get this stuff when they can’t afford anything else. I bet everyone will be fine but who knows I guess. Some people are really crazy. Some people are totally normal. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s who. (Laughing)

MJ: Is the a big problem that we should be focusing on or is this something like alcohol or cigarettes that should be left up to individuals?
C: I don’t know. It’s both. (Laughing) For some people it’s a big problem. For others it’s just for passing time. I think if they keep messing with the different chemicals they’ll turn everyone into cannibal zombies! No I don’t know.

MJ: How long have you been smoking? Have you noticed any differences as brands have switched, chemicals altered, etc?
C: I’ve been smoking it for like two years. I haven’t noticed much of a different in brands or anything like that. And i’ve tried them all! (Laughing)