Risky synthetic drug banned

A SYNTHETIC drug that has left five people in intensive care will be outlawed.

Users of the imitation drug product 'Marley' have suffered a range of health effects including seizures and loss of consciousness.

New legislation will class the product as a drug of dependence.

Mental health minister Mary Wooldridge said the laws would come into effect on Tuesday to ban sales and distribution of the drug.

Penalties for trafficking the product could result in up to 15 years' jail.

A number of stores the Bendigo Advertiser visited did not sell 'Marley' products but openly displayed synthetic cannabis products marketed as "incense" and "pot pourri".

Ms Wooldridge said retailers that sold synthetic drugs were "dicing with people's health".

She said 'Marley' and other synthetic drugs had largely unknown health consequences. 

“There is no doubt synthetic cannabinoids are highly dangerous,” she said.

Bendigo Acting Inspector Dave Collins said it was difficult to police the sale of synthetic products.

“The issue we’ve got is that certain mixtures are banned by legislation. Those products tend to quickly disappear and then suppliers will replace them with a new product that isn’t illegal," he said.

Ms Wooldridge said the government was using regulatory powers to ban synthetic drugs at the earliest opportunity.

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