Pubdate: Wed, 30 Jan 2013
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2013 The Windsor Star
Author: Trevor Wilhelm


Potent Product Hits Area Stores

A potent new "synthetic marijuana" has made its way to Windsor with
claims it is far more powerful than the real thing - and you can buy
it at the corner store.

Distributors of the product, called The IZMS, claim it is "legal

Police and Health Canada aren't so sure. They also warn it's extremely
dangerous. But that hasn't stopped The IZMS, sold in candy-like
packages, from flying off the shelves of local convenience stores and
smoke shops. One local user said he stopped using the product because
of repeated bad experiences, including elevated heartbeat and sore

"I felt like it was giving me a rapid heart, which really isn't a good
thing at all," said Fred, who didn't want his last name used.

"You've heard the stories about people in a mental state, and they
make bad decisions. I didn't feel any of that was a worry. But I did
feel like it was not good for me. I felt like if I smoke too much of
it then my kidneys hurt."

The company states the product is a mix of natural and synthetic
ingredients, but refuses to reveal exactly what they are.

The Star requested an interview through The IZMS website. There was no
response. The website states The IZMS is legal because it contains
cannabinoids that are not included under the Controlled Drugs and
Substances Act.

Health Canada said it is possible to produce synthetic versions of
components in marijuana, but it's illegal. "Health Canada is aware
that there are products being sold in Canada that contain these
synthetic substances," spokeswoman Sara Lauer wrote in an email. "It
is illegal to sell, import, produce, export or possess these
substances or any products containing them unless authorized by
regulation or via an exemption issued under Section 56 to the CDSA."

Lauer didn't know if The IZMS has an exemption. The company,
meanwhile, unabashedly promotes and sells its product online and at
local distributors.

It comes in the flavours Grape Drank, Gin N' Juice, Boom Kron,
Bomberry Blue and Luau Love, with prices on the website ranging from
$9.99 to $19.99. It was selling in Windsor on Tuesday for up to $40 a
pack, depending on the flavours and amounts.

Wording on a 1.25 gram, $10 package of Gin N' Juice stated it is a 100
per cent legal blend. The instructions: "1. Tear it. 2. Roll it. 3.
Smoke it. 4. Chillax."

Different flavours have different potencies. But Fred said it's hard
to gauge the strength, adding the effect would likely depend on who is
smoking it and how much of a tolerance they've developed for marijuana.

"I think that's up to the person," he said. "I think everybody has a
different reaction."

People in the U.S. have ended up in hospital after smoking other kinds
of synthetic weed. Several users in Canada have posted to online
message boards talking about the "terrifying" effects of The IZMS,
including hallucinations, vomiting and paranoia.

Despite that, Windsor stores are getting repeated requests for it.
Pete's Pipes on Ouellette Avenue was selling the product, but a clerk
said they stopped, despite its popularity.

The Service Market on University Avenue has been selling it for a few
months. The store owner, who said the product has been very popular,
didn't want to do an interview. But he did wonder aloud how the
producers and sellers are able to get away with it.

"I don't know how they can do that."

Moe Fakih, who works at Havana Smoke Shop and Convenience, said health
officials were there this week asking about it.

"They were just making sure we didn't have it," said Fakih. "We've
never seen it, never had it, but we did hear there are some places in
Windsor that do have it on stock. Apparently it's not good to sell.
It's got some bad effects. It's a dangerous product at the end of the

Chatham-Kent police sent out a similar warning this

"What I can say is we are monitoring the area and asking anyone with
information to please call us," said Const. Renee Cowell. "We know
it's making its way through Ontario, so it's just a matter of time
before it hits our community. We're just trying to make people aware
that it is illegal and dangerous."

Sgt. Matthew D'Asti said Windsor police have heard the product is in
this area. But to confirm if it's illegal, they'd have to test it. He
said police could do a "presumptive test" to see if it contains those
synthetic cannabinoids. But they'd still have to send it to Health
Canada for a more definitive test.

"If it can be proven those synthetic cannabinoids are present, then
the person in possession of it and the person selling it could be
facing criminal charges," said D'Asti. 
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