Minn. House OKs crackdown on synthetic marijuana

An effort to criminalize synthetic marijuana sold as herbal incense has easily cleared the Minnesota House with bipartisan support.

The bill from Republican Rep. John Kriesel of Cottage Grove passed on a 124-4 vote on Thursday.

Fake marijuana called K2 or Spice contains herbs and chemical compounds that mimic the effect of real marijuana when smoked. The substance can cause risky side effects such as heart palpitations, panic attacks and delusions.

The legislation would punish the sale of synthetic marijuana with fines of up to $3,000. Possessing the substance could bring penalties of up to 90 days in jail, fines of up to $1,000 or both.

Kriesel and others say it's time to crack down on teenagers who are smoking the drug.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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