Medical marijuana dispensary warns against synthetics

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND): HCI Alternatives, a medical marijuana dispensary in Springfield, is warning patients about synthetic marijuana.

The dispensary is urging people to carefully check packaging to avoid synthetic and fake marijuana. They say, synthetics aren't regulated or tested and will lack those classifications on the packaging.

Synthetic cannabinoids are chemicals sprayed on dried plants to be smoked or sold as e-cigarette liquids. They are sold under the names 'K2', 'Spice', and 'kush'.

HCI Alternatives says they are sometimes confusingly marketed as herbal or liquid incense. They say the synthetic marijuana often contains dangerous chemicals, like rat poison.

Three people have died in Illinois and more than 100 have gotten sick as a result of the synthetic drug.

Illinois is working to make synthetic cannabinoids illegal, but manufacturers continue to change the ingredients, keeping them on the market.

"Synthetic - it's not cannabis," Scott Abbott, the director of operations at HCI Alternatives, says. "It's some type of dried plant material that they've sprayed cannabinoids on that they've created from various chemicals, many of which have very harmful side affects, like internal bleeding and a number of issues that can ultimately lead to death."

HCI says that synthetic cannabinoids are often believe to be a safe alternative to marijuana, but that they are not. They are urging people to tell police if they synthetic marijuana is being sold near them.

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