It is sold as incense, but it is not burned for its fragrant smoke. Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson says young people are smoking it to get a dangerous high.
They smoke this, and it can cause seizures, hallucinations, or possibly even death, said Sheriff Kelly Hanson. It is a problem.
Sheriff Hanson says his investigators learned clerks at area convenience stores are actually telling young customers how to use the so-called incense to get high. He says they TMre telling them one incense called Demon has no illegal ingredients.
According to the clerk, it is very potent when smoked and didn TMt suggest driving after consuming it, says Sheriff Hanson.
NBC25 Undercover Investigation
NBC25 wanted to know just how easy it is to obtain this incense across mid-Michigan.
We went to local liquor stores or smoke shops and asked to purchase incense for smoking. One in three stores provided us with the product.
We found it is not just available in Huron County. We found the incense being abused for sale in communities like Holly and Saginaw.
Users call it fake marijuana, says Sheriff Hanson.
The incense is similar to marijuana in that it looks like marijuana and is smoked like marijuana, but those who have witnessed the high it brings say it is nothing like marijuana.
It is more like LSD, says Chris Asadian.
A Dangerous High
Chris Asadian, Kaylee Lentz, and Michael Mancour, student journalists for Washtenaw Community College TMs newspaper in 2009, together produced a video report on the trend of smoking incense containing Salvia Divinorum.
They say they found themselves in a frightening situation as they documented one young man TMs experience getting high on incense.
He just immediately lost it, said Lentz. I tried to ask him questions. He was totally incoherent.
It brought him to craziness, described Asadian. He climbed up on a chair and fell. Thank God he TMs fine.
That was more than I could handle, said Mancour, who feared at the time that the fall seriously hurt the young man. I didn TMt expect that at the time.
A legal high? No. Ooops! Yes... kind of.
In October 2010, Michigan lawmakers banned many incenses used to get high. They classified several chemical concoctions and salvia divinorum as controlled substances. Possession of them became a misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in jail or a $100 fine.
Then in December Governor Jennifer Granholm repealed the penalties for possessing these drugs by accident as she signed into law a separate bill related to drug sentences.NBC25 will take a look at how this happened, and what is now being done about it Wednesday on NBC25 News at 6:00 p.m.
We want to know what you think about this dangerous trend. As our poll asks, do you think it should be illegal to smoke all incenses? Are you angry this law was repealed? Have you witnessed the dangers of abusing incense? Have you seen store clerks market this as an easy and legal high to young people? Please leave your comments below.