Synthetic marijuana being tested at KSP Lab - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Synthetic marijuana being tested at KSP Lab

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- They come in professional packaging, but inside, users are finding drugs.

WDRB went behind the scenes at the Kentucky State Police Lab Monday afternoon, as analysts investigated cases of fake marijuana.

Jeremy Triplett, a KSP Forensic Analyst said, "It was a problem because it was surprising. We didn't expect it -- something that caught us off guard at first. We didn't know what these were. We really didn't have the experience with the synthetic marijuanas."

Kentucky State Police have been inundated with cases of synthetic marijuana. At the lab in Frankfort, analysts are testing a number of drugs. They were used to testing real marijuana, but had to learn more about the fake stuff.

Triplett says, "Actually, the plant material is not the drug. The drug is sprayed on that plant material...just various herbs and plants."

Some of the packages confiscated by State Police have the names "Po-Po," "Venom" and "Wicked" printed on them. These products are being marketed as potpourri, plant food and bath salts. The ones in leaf form are being smoked.  People try to get high as the drugs mimic marijuana.

In 2011, Governor Steve Beshear signed into law a ban on new synthetic drugs. Last year, a law went into effect increasing the penalties for the second offense for trafficking synthetic marijuana, making it a felony for the first time.

Triplett says, "With legislation passed this past Spring that controlled everything as a class instead of the specific drugs, we have seen a tapering off of a lot of it."

While analysts are not seeing synthetic marijuana on a daily basis anymore, there is still a large number of cases only surpassed now by heroin.

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