Recently, a tragic event took place in Manhattan. On Thursday, May 18th, 2017, a troubled man named Richard Rojas steered his vehicle onto a busy Times Square sidewalk, killing a young woman from Michigan and injuring 22 people¹. He was overheard at the scene saying that he wanted to “kill them” and even ran toward a police officer saying this before being wrestled to the ground by police and bystanders. Eyewitnesses reported seeing a suspect highly agitated, screaming, running and jumping around before being bravely apprehended. Rojas was subsequently revealed to having had a dubious past, having been discharged from the military for disciplinary problems and previously arrested twice over for DUIs. Only a week prior to the incident occurring May 18th, he was cited for pointing a knife at a notary, having accused him of stealing his identity (he pleaded guilty to a harassment violation². Law enforcement sources later notified news outlets that after being taken into custody, Rojas had reportedly tested positive for synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or spice³.
Synthetic marijuana is not marijuana; it is a combination of chemicals sprayed onto dried, shredded plant material, such as oregano⁴. The activity of these lab-produced cannabinoids can be a hundred times stronger (or more) than that of marijuana itself and cause intense paranoia and delusional thinking. All of the synthetic chemicals used to produce synthetic marijuana are illegal to sell, possess and use. Ironically, some people purchase this illicit substance thinking it is safer because it is not actually marijuana. Do not be this person! Synthetic cannabis is highly dangerous and all efforts to keep it out of United States dispensaries and elsewhere should be fully encouraged and assisted.
DE O’Connell, MD
President & CEO
Paladin MD Services
- Stanglin, D. (n.d.). Driver in Times Square rampage shouted ‘I wanted to kill them,’ prosecutors say. Retrieved August 08, 2017, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/05/19/times-square-accident-vehicle-rams-charges-filed/101868394/
- Nelson, S. C. (2017, May 19). Times Square Crash Driver ‘Was High On Synthetic Marijuana Spice’. Retrieved August 08, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/times-square-crash-driver-charged-with-murder_uk_591edfcde4b03b485cb0c5fb
- Berke, E. B. (2017, May 18). The Times Square driver was reportedly high on synthetic marijuana – here’s what it is. Retrieved August 08, 2017, from http://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-synthetic-marijuana-k2-times-square-car-crash-2017-5
- Anon, (2017). [online] Available at: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2015/08/18/the-dangers-of-synthetic-marijuana[Accessed 8 Aug. 2017].