Synthetic pot returns to Tucson

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- It didn't take long.  After the state banned synthetic marijuana, a quick change in the formula and its back on the shelves, legally.

K-2 and Spice are just two of the popular synthetic marijuana brands back on the market.

"It's pretty good.  It's not as good as weed, but for spending your money for something that's typically supposed to be like marijuana its all right.  It gives you more of a natural high," said Tucson resident Nic.

Last year the product was banned and Tucson police conducted searches at shops to make sure businesses were not selling it illegally.

"The DEA Drug Enforcement Administration temporarily banned five illegal substances found in the synthetic cannabinoid," said Lt. Rich Anemone from the Tucson Police Department.

Arizona State Representatives got involved and HB 2167 was introduced and signed into law earlier this year.

The measure added some of the substances found in synthetic marijuana to a dangerous drugs list.

"Compounds that are considered threatening or dangerous.  The problem that your describing is one that we anticipated," said State Representative from District 29 Matt Heinz.

State Rep Matt Heinz introduce the bill with several others. The problem he mentioned is that the fake pot is back with a different recipe. It's still potent, without using any banned substances.

"Chemists, typically in Asia or Europe, actually can tweak the chemicals make it just chemically even differ from the ones we just banned this year," said Heinz.

Lawmakers and law enforcement say it will be an on going battle, because of the continued chemical changes.  They can't ban more common chemicals that could be found in something like in an aspirin bottle.

They feel the answer is to have parents talk to their kids about the dangers of the substance.

"I think what we have to look at is basically an awareness to the parents of kids that are buying these substances," said Lt. Anemone.

State Representative Heinz says they will consider updating the laws and looking at giving penalties to businesses that are marketing the substances.