State-by-state bans are being made on the sale of synthetic marijuana, also known as “K2,” “Spice,” and “Blaze.” New York and Georgia have passed the most recent bans. Will Maryland be next?

The Maryland General Assembly is considering Senate Bill 76 regarding synthetic cannabinoids, which will designate synthetic substances similar in effect to the THC found in marijuana a Schedule I controlled, dangerous substance.The bill, awaiting House approval, passed a third reading in the Senate on March 22 with 46 “Yeahs” and zero “Nays.”

The bill is a response to a rise in emergency room-treated side effects, such as seizures, and an Ocean City ordinance that banned the possession and manufacturing of “K2” and similar substances in August 2011. No deaths have been reported in Maryland involving the imitation marijuana, but according to the proposed bill, the Maryland Poison Control Center reported that there were 146 cases of exposures to synthetic THC-like compounds so far in 2011. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 4,500 cases involving synthetic cannabinoid toxicity from 2010 to 2011.

You might be asking why the sale of these substances isn’t illegal anyway. Where there’s a will around the law, there’s a way. These chemical compounds, often created from legal pain killers and salts, are advertised and sold as herbal incenses with the disclaimer, “not for consumption.” The dangers associated with the synthetic marijuana have refueled the fires of debate over legalization of real marijuana.