Synthetic marijuana puts three in hospital, one in critical condition

Posted at 10:26 PM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 22:26:18-05

BRANCH COUNTY, Mich. - Three drug overdoses in Branch County have Michigan State Police on high alert. All three cases involved 'Spice' or 'K-2,' a synthetic marijuana classified as a schedule 1 drug that can cause high blood pressure, seizures, and death.

Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation in 2012 ensuring K2, Spice and other dangerous synthetic marijuana would be considered a felony offense to possess or distribute and would no longer find their way to Michigan store shelves. Catchy names market the lethal substance as being a safe alternative to marijuana, but authorties said it's anything but that. First Lieutenant James R. Coleman, Post Commander for the Michigan State Police in Marshall, told Fox 17 it's become such a concern because they're not sure where these young adults are getting it from.

"You’ll have the anxiety, you’ll have hallucinations and paranoia, the worst ones are when they become violent," said Lt. Coleman. "You’ll have increased blood pressure, heart rate, you could go into seizures, and the worst case is that they’ll die."

Two isolated cases on Sunday and Monday sent three people to the hospital after overdosing on the drug, one of whom is listed in critical condition. All three are men in their 20's. Their names have not been released.

"I do know that one person interviewed sounds like he had a habit it with," said Lt. Coleman. "And if someone has a habit with it, that means he’s using on a regular basis. That means he has a regular source."

What was once thought to be on the ways side is now creating a new threat for police once again. Curious users and a supplier are now at the heart of a fresh investigation. The 5th District Tobacco Tax Team conducted inspections at various convenience stores throughout Branch County. No synthetic marijuana was located during the inspections. They're now warning the public of the dangers of spice.

"It’s a chemical you don’t typically see and if it’s not something regulated that means it’s not tested so people are taking a chance with their lives when they use it for a buzz, and that’s pretty scary," said Lt. Coleman.

Authorities ask anyone with information to call the Michigan State Police Marshall Post at (269)-558-0500.