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Synthetic marijuana: Statewide ban in the works

Stock up on your sketchy unregulated spiked potpourri while you can!

Stock up on your sketchy unregulated spiked potpourri while you can!

Synthetic marijuana was too good to last. Not that it's so good -- as we reported over the summer, it smokes with all the smoothness of hot fiberglass and confers a high not unlike fossilized ditchweed.

But it gets you high, and up until now it's been legal, and those facts have added up to enormous popularity in Minnesota, with head shops saying it makes up more than half of their revenues. [jump]

But nothing gold can stay, especially when we're talking about intoxicants other than alcohol, and especially especially when we're talking about a totally unregulated industry importing potpourri sprayed with mystery-compounds from the far corners of the world.

Today, State Sen. Katie Sieben and State Rep. Denny McNamarra held a press conference announcing legislation to ban the stuff for good, classifying it as a Schedule I controlled substance.

Whether they'll be able to craft a bill that will stand up to legal challenges remains to be seen. Duluth tried to impose a local ban earlier this year, but had to suspend enforcement when lawyers for a local head shop pointed out that the ordinance was so broad that it outlawed most cold medicines.

Opponents of the legal smokes had initially hoped that the state's Board of Pharmacy would be able to get synthetic marijuana products of shelves before the legislature would be able to get to the issue. But so many people responded to the Board's open comment period that the Board gave up on taking its own action and will instead back Sieben and McNamarra's bill.

You can watch a video of the legislators' press conference here.