While this this rule provides law enforcement across Georgia with the authority to seize these new synthetic cannabinoids, it does not provide for criminal penalties or arrest authority, according to a media release. Criminal penalties will have to come through legislation passed by the Georgia General Assembly.
The stated reason for the adoption of this rule is as follows:
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has determined that synthetic cannabinoids is now appearing throughout Georgia at an increased level. Documented Poison Center reports show that users of synthetic cannabinoids can experience symptoms that include, but are not limited to, the following: altered mental status, lethargy, short-term coma, seizures and psychosis.
Previously, during the 2010 legislative session, the legislature banned all forms of synthetic cannabinoids as Schedule I substances in Georgia. However, manufacturers altered their formulas to bypass the effectiveness of the law. During the 2012 legislative session, the legislature revisited this issue and passed a more inclusive law, SB 370 (“Chase’s Law”), which covered all variations of the chemical compounds within the synthetic cannabinoid products. However, manufacturers have now begun changing the molecular structure of the drug altogether in order to circumvent the current law.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has determined that synthetic cannabinoids manufactured using these new molecular structures have begun appearing in Georgia. In addition, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been able to identify these new molecular structures comprising these new versions of synthetic cannabinoids.
In order to protect the general health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Georgia, an emergency rule is being adopted to immediately classify these new molecular structures as Class I substances under the Georgia Controlled Substances Act.