September 24, 2013 — The Denver Post reports that a synthetic marijuana lawsuit has been filed by the mother of Nicholas Colbert, a 19 year-old who died in his home on September 21, 2011 after smoking the drug, also known as “Spice.”
The lawsuit was filed against Family Market, LLC, the owner of the Kwik Stop at 1125 South Chelton Road in Colorado Springs, where Colbert allegedly purchased synthetic marijuana in a bottle labeled “Mr. Smiley.”
Lawyers for Colbert’s family allege that the product contained chemicals banned by Colorado and federal law, but the label did not disclose its ingredients or side effects. They allege that Kwik Stop sold the drug to Colbert for months after it was banned in Colorado.
Since late August, at least 3 deaths and 75 hospitalizations in Colorado have been linked to synthetic marijuana. Officials are unsure whether it was a “bad batch” or a newer, more dangerous form of the drug. In December 2012, a teenager named Emily Bauer smoked the drug and suffered a series of strokes that left her permanently disabled.
In March 2011, the DEA added synthetic cannabinoids to Schedule I. On April 12, 2013, the DEA expanded the list to control three new synthetic cannabinoid agonist receptors. All branches of the military have banned synthetic marijuana. Individual state laws vary widely, but most have added it to their list of controlled substances.
Spice is a product that is sold as a legal herb-based alternative to marijuana. Since it hit the market in about 2006, numerous organizations have tested ingredients and identified dozens of chemicals that work by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
Although the substance looks like dried herbs or sand, it contains dangerous psychoactive chemicals that are not listed on the label. Side effects include seizures, hallucinations, convulsions, stokes, and profound psychological effects that last for weeks or months.