Consumer Affairs to inspect local shops for removal of illegal substances 

FREEHOLD, NJ – Monmouth County Department of Consumer Affairs is joining other counties and the state in the effort to educate retailers about a new law that makes it a crime to manufacture, distribute, sell or possess synthetic marijuana.

“The county Consumer Affairs staff will be visiting retail establishments in Monmouth County to inform them of this new law and to encourage management to turn in all packages of synthetic marijuana to their local or state police immediately,” county Consumer Affairs Director Annmarie Howley said. “We want our local retailers to have the opportunity to surrender any existing packets to local law enforcement by 11:59 p.m. on March 9.”

Synthetic marijuana is usually sold in small packets of about 500 milligrams to 3 grams, with brand names such as “K2,” “K3,” “Spice,” “Kush,” “Down 2 Earth” and many others. The packets often contain a mixture of herbs and plant materials that have been coated with chemical agents that affect the brain. The products are often labeled as “incense” or “potpourri.”

As of  March 10, 2012, synthetic marijuana will be an illegal substance in New Jersey and the possession, manufacture, distribution or sale of the substance will be subject to a fine of up to $25,000 and three to five years imprisonment.

Packets of synthetic marijuana and other suspected designer drugs have been sold at gasoline stations, boardwalk novelty shops and other locations across New Jersey. The packages often bear labels claiming the contents are not covered by any existing federal or state ban, creating the impression that they can be sold legally.

For more information, contact Monmouth County Consumer Affairs at 732-431-7900. Additional information about consumer affairs can be found on the county website at www.visitmonmouth.com.

The office is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For much more information on the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs’ initiative to stop the use of synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs, view the Division’s website at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/designer.