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Illinois lawmakers push for new restrictions on ‘fake pot’

Synthetic cannabinoids -- often called Spice, K2 or fake weed -- have been tied to 4 recent deaths.

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – In the wake of a wave of deaths related to synthetic cannabis overdoses in Illinois, lawmakers are trying to do more to keep fake pot off the streets.

The Illinois Senate swiftly passed legislation without opposition on May 10 that would add all synthetic cannabinoids to the Controlled Substances Act.

The measure now moves onto the house.

Under the new law,  manufacturers would be subject to a Class 3 felony charge, and those charged with simple possession would face a Class 4 felony.

The Centers for Disease Control reported that 99 percent of deadly cases have occurred in Illinois. The products doing the killing are most often sold and labeled as “spice” or “K-2.”

Currently in Illinois, formula changes have been a loophole in getting around existing laws.

As a result, dozens of people have gotten sick from synthetic marijuana laced with rat poison.

Four people have died, and 164 have been sickened.

Most cases have been reported in the Chicago or Peoria areas.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Synthetic cannabinoids are a “man-made mixture of hundreds of chemicals that affect the same brain cell receptors as the active ingredient in marijuana — commonly known as THC — that causes people to get a euphoric high.”

The U.S. Department of Justice says that in fewer than 10 years, the types of synthetic cannabinoid formulas jumped from two in 2009 to more than 80 in 2015.