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Dangerous 'weaponized' weed is driving users bonkers: Bill Bratton

The city's homeless, looking for cheap high, have taken to synthetic weed.

The cost of synthetic marijuana in city bodegas: $2 to $5. The cost to your sanity: priceless.

New York City's top cop has gone to DEFCON 1 on the dangers of what he is now calling "weaponized" marijuana, telling reporters that it drives users nuts, makes them impervious to pain, and dangerous when high.

"The synthetic marijuana issue has been one of great and growing concern here in New York," NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said at a news conference Tuesday.

"You are going to see a lot more of it in the short term."

In one video released by the NYPD, a naked homeless man is seen screaming and tussling with cops, punching a hole in a fence, and then leaping over an embankment.

The city's homeless have particularly taken to the synthetic weed (a/k/a K-2 or spice), he said, because it is a cheap high.

A federal ban on compounds found in synthetic marijuana products was enacted in 2012 and it is illegal to sell it in New York State.

Between April 1 and July 31, more than 1,900 people were admitted to hospitals in New York State after taking the substance, the NYPD said.

One man high on the drug used his hands to stop an electric saw being used by police to open a door, Bratton said, leaving him covered in blood.

Raids on corner stores and other outlets, which have been illegally selling synthetic marijuana in packages for $2 to $5, have helped slow use, he said.

John A. Oswald is editor-at-large at Metro and can be found on Twitter@nyc_oz.
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