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New products in works to replace banned bath salts, synthetic pot, salvia

From The Patriot-News:

When horror stories about bath salts and synthetic marijuana began circulating, lawmakers in Pennsylvania acted swiftly to ban the so-called fake drugs.

But manufacturers are even quicker.

Today is the first day that brands of bath salts, synthetic pot and salvia are illegal in this state.

By Wednesday, a yet-to-be-named product will be on the shelves of at least one local head shop, promising to have the same effects of synthetic marijuana.

“It’s incredible,” said George Geisler of the Pennsylvania DUI Association. “But they say that as fast as these products are outlawed they will come up with new ones, so it will never end.”

That has some wondering whether this will continue as a cycle: more new drugs and more new laws.

Since Gov. Tom Corbett signed the ban into law last month, customers at Hemp’s Above in Mechanicsburg have been asking: “Are they coming out with anything else?”

Owner Brian Edmonson said about three-quarters of his sales came from synthetic pot while it was legal. Now he’ll sell a new mixture, but he said the stuff doesn’t have a name, and he’s not sure if he should call it incense, or potpourri — or something else.

Edmonson says he asks for identification from every customer, but most of his clients are over 30, and about half use synthetic marijuana for therapeutic reasons.

The forensic society might not be prepared for these drugs.

“They can’t test it like they test coke and marijuana,” said midstate attorney Justin McShane, who says he specializes in forensic science.

When you’re caught with an illegal drug — in your possession or in your blood — police have to confirm that the substance is actually the outlawed chemical compound.

For drugs that are familiar, there is an answer key. McShane says that isn’t down to a science for these newly banned synthetic drugs. He thinks it will cause problems in the courts.

Edmonson says his suppliers tell him Pennsylvania’s law is one of strictest of the 30 states that had banned the fake drugs by midsummer. But some fear the laws can’t keep up.