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*McDonnell signs bill outlawing synthetic pot, cocaine


By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

Starting now, merchants with products synthesizing marijuana and cocaine are breaking the law.

Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law today a bill banning the possession and sale of synthetic marijuana, as well as so-called "bath salts" that have similar effects as cocaine and amphetamines, according to a news release from Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock.

In a phone interview Wednesday afternoon, Gilbert said he'd been hearing about synthetic marijuana for some time now, and bath salts more recently. However, legislators didn't want to wait until next year to deal with the latter, he said.

"The term bath salts is misleading," Gilbert said. "It's merely a marketing technique for this particular designer drug or drugs that they sell ... under the name bath salts. They were never intended ... to take a luxurious bath."

Possession of bath salts is a class 5 felony, and sellers or distributors can face five to 40 years in prison. For synthetic marijuana, possession is a class 1 misdemeanor, and sale or distribution a class 6 felony, according to the news release.

"Any merchants selling this stuff had to know this was coming," Gilbert said. "It's been publicized. It was talked about."

Store owners who have the drugs in stock "should rectify it immediately," he said.

For further developments, visit nvdaily.com or read the print edition of The Northern Virginia Daily.


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