SHALIMAR, Fla. (WALA) - In 2011, the Florida Attorney General's Office banned numerous forms of synthetic marijuana, also known as spice, and numerous forms of it, which were sold in stores.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office has been trying to get the substance off the streets ever since.
On Dec. 11, 2012, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced 22 more chemical forms of the substance that have been banned.
"There are no ingredients on these packages, and it's not FDA approved. It says not for human consumption or for sale to those under 18. But it's exactly what they're selling it for, and what they're profiting from - our kids taking this poison," said Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley.
Authorities said the synthetic marijuana is usually thought of as a safe alternative to marijuana or ecstasy.
Sheriff Ashley said it is often more dangerous causing psychotic episodes, hallucinations, seizures, paranoia and more.
"They've been linked to literally thousands of emergency room visits, and it's getting worse," Sheriff Ashley said.
Deputies said the substance can usually be traced back to Asia. Investigators said the producers market their product towards children as young as 12.
"The product is marketed as Herbal MG with Disney characters on the packaging. Some are known as Scooby Snacks. These are items taken out of our stores and this is what they're marketing to our children," said Sheriff Ashley.
Ashley said since the chemicals can vary so much, law enforcement is constantly trying catch up with the drugs' makers.
"They can literally take a table and leafy substance and then spray one side with a chemical. Then they spray the other side with another chemical," Sheriff Ashley said. "They then put it all in the same package. Law enforcement will not stand by and watch this poison sold to our community."
Authorities say the sell or possession of the drugs is considered a third degree felony.
For more information, you can visit the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office website.
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