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Bodegas in Queens are joining together to sign a pledge to keep synthetic marijuana off their shelves. They are recognizing the dangers these drugs pose to our children and to our communities.
We applaud the efforts of City Councilman Ruben Wills’ (D-Jamaica), and the Bodega owners, like Basheer Ahmed, who are taking personal responsibility for preventing the spread of this dangerous drug.
It is with individual acts of responsibility and community pride, working hand-in-hand with lawmakers and law enforcement personnel, that we can win this battle against the dealers of synthetic marijuana.
At a number of bodegas in southeast Queens, customers can legally purchase a product that produces a marijuana-like high, but while the weed may be fake, the dangerous side effects are real.
Basheer Ahmed, manager of the Bashir Famous Deli in Rochdale, Friday became the first to sign City Councilman Ruben Wills’ (D-Jamaica) pledge to ban from his store’s shelves synthetic marijuana, a product ostensibly sold as an herbal incense, but one critics say teens and young adults are smoking to get high.
“This is a problem that’s become increasingly more pervasive in our community,” said Wills, who stood outside the shop on the corner of Guy R. Brewer Boulevard and 140th Avenue, along with fellow Councilman James Sanders (D-Jamaica) and state Assemblywoman Vivian Cook (D-Jamaica) to announce their plan to rid their neighborhoods of the products.
Sold under names such as “Spice,” “K2,” “Blaze” and “Red X Dawn,” these products consist of plant material that has been coated with chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
Addiction expert Herman Lozada said the chemicals were originally made in labs to do research on animals and can produce side effects in humans such as hallucinations, heart palpitations, paranoia and aggression. Continue reading