SPICE — synthetic marijuana found in local high school
The appearance of Spice or synthetic marijuana in the territory, with the latest case coming out of the schools, has raised concerns with Commissioner of Public Safety William Bill Haleck and Commanding Officer of Vice and Narcotics, Police Captain Peau Paulo Leuma, both claiming this is “alarming”.
Capt. Leuma confirmed, the latest drug case, recently came out of a high school, where a student was caught selling Spice or Synthetic Marijuana joints on campus. He explained the police report in this matter is almost complete and will be forwarded to the appropriate authority.
Spice or Synthetic Marijuana is a mixture of herbs and spices that are typically sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredients in marijuana. Commissioner Haleck said he does not condone marijuana, however there is a big difference between Spice or Synthetic Marijuana and the regular marijuana — and Spice or Synthetic Marijuana is much more dangerous given the chemical added to it.
Haleck told Samoa News that Spice has psychological effects similar to marijuana including paranoia, panic attack, and giddiness and also it can increase the heart rate and blood pressure, and it appears to be stored in the body for a lengthy period of time, which is why the long term effects on humans are not fully known.
Other names for this drug is Bliss, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Fake Weed, Genie and Sohai and it is typically sold in small silvery plastic bags of dried leaves and marketed as incense that can be smoked and its said to resemble potpourri. The synthetic marijuana is usually smoked in joints and pipes, but some users make it into a tea.
The Commissioner explained that Spice is illegal in the United States as well as American Samoa, given that this drug contains THC, which is also found in marijuana, an illegal substance.
He further stated that having the presence of this drug on island is alarming given that this is a very small community. With the latest drug case coming out of one of the high schools, the Commissioner issues a stern warning to parents to talk to their children on the impact of this drug.
The Commissioner emphasized this drug is illegal in the territory, and noted there are people who come to the territory with medical records which allows them to use marijuana.
However, he said, “Newsflash for you, marijuana is illegal in the territory, whether you have a medical card or not. It may be legal in other states but not in American Samoa, if you are caught, you will be arrested and charged in accordance with the law.”
Samoa News should point out that one of the Spice cases in the territory involves a Port Administration employee, who was serving 90 days in jail (since October 2013 for felony driving), and was out on the work release program, but was allegedly caught trying to smuggle marijuana joints into jail on New Year’s Eve.
The Vice and Narcotics Commanding officer confirmed the drug in this case is Spice. The defendant is being charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance — marijuana — and with escape while on work release, which are both felonies. According to the police report, the substance tested positive for THC.