NH Governor Declares State Of Emergency Over “Spice” Overdoses

Ben Swann – by Annabelle Bamforth

Concord, NH- Governor Maggie Hassan (D-Exeter) declared a state of emergency last Thursday in response to dozens of reported overdoses related to synthetic marijuana, often called “spice”.

The state of emergency will be in effect for 21 days unless an order is made to end the declaration early or to extend it. About 44 people have been reported to experience adverse reactions to the product; around half of those overdoses required hospitalization.

Spice is generally marketed as potpourri or incense on their packaging and often labeled “not for consumption”, but product users commonly smoke it, ingest it or brew it into tea because the products are sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids. The synthetic compounds have been claimed to mimic the effects of marijuana, but with more dangerous and intense reactions.

According to the press release, “The declaration of a State of Emergency triggers the Department of Health and Human Services public health powers under RSA 21-P:53 or any other applicable statute to investigate, isolate or quarantine and require the destruction of the commodity in question.”  The overdoses have mainly been reported in the Manchester area, and a few have been documented in Concord.

“These spice products can be treated with a variety of things, some of them are showing up with controlled substances that make them illegal, but we don’t know that that’s true for all of them,”said Hassan.

Although spice has been legal to sell, police and health officials are now searching for the “Smacked” brand of spice in bubblegum flavor. The state of emergency declaration allows for the bubblegum “Smacked” spice to be pulled from store shelves. There are several other brands and flavors of spice, but “Smacked” is the brand that officials are claiming caused the overdoses.

Manchester Police Sgt. Brian O’Keefe said that Chief David Mara is discussing with city officials the possibility of a spice ban within Manchester.

Matt Simon, New England Political Director of  Marijuana Policy Project, said “It’s very important for people to understand that these drugs are not ‘synthetic marijuana.’ That’s about as accurate as calling methamphetamine ‘synthetic coffee.’ If adults could legally choose to use marijuana, it’s hard to imagine that there would be much demand for these dangerous substitutes.”

“This is just another reason to end marijuana prohibition,” said Simon.

Police in New Hampshire cities including Nashua and Manchester are checking convenience stores and gas stations for the product. A store owner in Pelham was arrested on Friday and charged with two counts of felony drug sales for selling the substance. Three stores in Manchester have been shut down after police said those stores were selling the product.


3 thoughts on “NH Governor Declares State Of Emergency Over “Spice” Overdoses

  1. Anyone here had any 1st (or 2nd) hand experience with whatever this is? I’ve heard very little about it. I’m thinking it’s probably an agency creation.

    Just like to know how much of what they’re peddling about it is b.s.

  2. I knew someone who used the stuff a few years ago before it was such a big deal. He said it was very hit or miss. Sometimes it would be just like a mj high. Other times it would make him throw up from the intensity. Then the next time it would be okay. And yet on a few occasions he would shake uncontrollably with heart palpitations to the point where he almost felt the need to go to the hospital. Then the next time it would be very mellow and calm. All from the same package. Strange stuff for sure.

    Nowadays though, those chemicals are long since illegal, not sure what these new cases are all about. They’re supposed to be herbal only.
    In any case, I agree that if mj were legalized, these types of medical emergencies would disappear. No one has ever OD’d from mj. Ever.

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