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Toronto man behind synthetic pot battles for legal recognition

For young people in Toronto, getting high may not come with the same legal implications that people of their parents' generation had to deal with because of synthetic marijuana. Currently, synthetic marijuana, some of which is marketed under the Izms brand, is in a legal grey zone, meaning it is neither legal nor is it illegal. Until the federal government issues clearer legislation on synthetic marijuana, there will be some confusion as to whether the substance is truly legal. Currently, the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act classifies cannabinoids, THC (the chemical compound in marijuana that causes a high) and "synthetic preparations" as Schedule II narcotics, the compound used in Izms is not listed.

Despite this, in March the Toronto man distributing Izms across Canada was arrested on charges of trafficking narcotics. It seems it was an armed robbery of an erotica store in Hamilton in which the alleged robber asked for all of the store's supply of Izms that prompted the investigation and arrest. Fortunately for the 28-year-old Toronto drug designer, however, the charges were stayed, meaning that the court likely lacked the evidence or reason to convict. Having the charges stayed, however, has not been enough for the young man.

If this synthetic marijuana distributor has his way, the Canadian government will eventually approve and regulate his products. This would very clearly delineate which synthetic products were legal, which were not, and the provincial and federal governments could treat the drugs similarly to tobacco or marijuana.

Regulation may be a way off, however, which means that individuals with or selling synthetic pot are dealing with a substance in a legal grey zone.

Source: Toronto Life, "Better than Weed: the latest drug craze is a fake version of pot that might even be legal," Courtney Shea, 27 Aug. 2013

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