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Gov. Deal outlaws synthetic marijuana | News

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Gov. Deal outlaws synthetic marijuana

ATLANTA -- Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill Tuesday that outlaws all forms of synthetic marijuana in the state.

Synthetic marijuana is made by mixing marijuana-like compounds with different dried plants. The substance is legal and is sold in gas stations throughout Georgia.

The new legislation, SB 370, was named Chase's Law in honor of Chase Corbitt Burnett, a 16-year-old honor student and soccer player at McIntosh High School in Peachtree City. Chase passed away in his parents' home after smoking synthetic marijuana.

Chase's parents attended the bill signing, as did Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, House Speaker David Ralston and Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan.

"These synthetic substances pose an enormous risk to our public safety," Gov. Deal said in a statement. "As the usage has dramatically increased, instances of violence, bodily harm and even death have risen with it. I applaud the GBI and the General Assembly for their fast work on this legislation, which addresses a pressing need."

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were nearly 7,000 calls nationwide related to adverse effects associated with synthetic marijuana in 2011. Doctors have determined that it can cause psychosis and increase the tendency of violence.