Jonny Clearwater Cloud 9 Review


POTENCY / STRENGTH: Medium
AROMA / FLAVOR: original, banana foster, black cherry, blueberry, coconut, cotton candy, passion fruit, pomito (pomigranite mojito), strawberry
PRICE: $20.00 3.5 grams
COMPANY: Yes, 50 State

In the interest of “50 state legal” blends we have a new spice that actually lives up to it’s name. Sit back, fire up and just relax as this blend’s smooth aromatic vibe calms your senses and leaves you in a state of meditation not seen by other brands. Made from high quality herbs, and with-out JWH-018/073/200 this shiny little blue bag is a definite score for those on a budget.

Not as potent as some of the blends still being made with the usual suspects, but Jonny Clearwater’s cloud9 isn’t your usual blend. This is a mild, relaxing calm high, not that shiver your spine, heart pounding buzz that’s all too common these days. This is more like “end of the day” grab a beer and chill to an aromatic experience that can melt away your troubles and give you the munchies.

As someone who likes to steady smoke, I really like this blend. It’s flavor lingers and the quality herbs burn slow and go down well. The guys at Jonny Clearwater take great pride in offering a quality product at an affordable price and it shows in each fat 3.5 gram bag. I would definitely recommend this to a friend!

Offered in original, banana foster, black cherry, blueberry, coconut, cotton candy, passion fruit, pomito (pomigranite mojito), strawberry and sometimes even special seasonal flavors. Sold at random smoke shops and direct from the Jonny Clearwater Cloud 9 website for a limited time you can use the coupon code BUYHERBAL for 10% off your entire order! Wholesale opportunities available with deep discounts and free shipping.

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Synthetic drugs spreading rapidly across North Dakota


The first person who caught my eye when I entered Discontent skateboarding shop was a young boy, not more than 12 years old, standing on a wooden platform with an unstrapped helmet covering most of his dark, shaggy hair and a skateboard resting vertically at his side. Nearby, three teenagers with looks of extreme indifference on their faces fingered through CDs stacked on a small rack next to a skateboarding ramp. Then I noticed two women lingering near the back of the store with their hands in their jacket pockets waiting for a chance to get high.

The women, both appearing to be in their mid-30s, didn’t have to wait long. Within a few minutes, a man working behind the counter stepped away from the cash register and led them to a doorway with a chain hanging from one side to the other. He unhinged the chain, asked for their IDs and led them into a back room lined with mostly empty glass display cases.

(Photo by Matt Bunk) Herbal incense such as White Rabbit and New Dimension can be purchased in Bismarck, despite warnings by medical professionals and law enforcement leaders who say the effects of ingesting the chemicals on synthetic drugs can cause health problems and even death.

The women obviously knew what they wanted. They walked past two display cases, barely noticing the contents: a meager assortment of blown-glass pipes and small, metal objects shaped like cigarettes. Instead, they stopped in front of a case that contained several colorful packages labeled “New Dimension” and “White Rabbit.”

“One gram of the New Dimension,” one of the women said without looking up.

“That’s 20 bucks,” the employee said. “Or you can get three grams for $50.”

The woman shook her head, still looking down at the display case, before following the man to the counter to pay.

After the transaction, I followed the women out of the back room, past several racks holding an assortment of t-shirts, shoes and skateboards and, finally, past the young boy who was skidding down the skateboarding ramp to our left. When the door closed behind us, the women scurried along the sidewalk until they reached a car parked on the corner of Main Avenue an Fifth Street. Before they got in, I introduced myself and asked the woman what they bought.

“Herbal incense,” she said.

OK, but why would anyone pay $20 for a gram of incense?

“It gets you high,” she said. “And it’s not illegal.”

The New World of Synthetic Drugs

The synthetic drug market has exploded during the past four years, leading to many different chemical compounds and product names such as K2, Bliss, Tranquility, Spice, Wet and Wild and Eight Ballz. These new drugs are often sold as innocuous products such as herbal incense and bath salts and packaged with a label that warns against human consumption, but if ingested they mimic the effects of marijuana, LSD, ecstasy, cocaine and other controlled substances.

The packaging is also deceptive. Many of the products come in brightly colored wrappers that appear harmless.

“The packaging almost looks like candy wrappers,” said Hope Olson, director of the North Dakota Crime Lab. “It looks like something for kids.”

Merchants sell synthetic drugs online, and they can be found on the shelves of smoke shops, record stores and other retail establishments. Rogue chemists manufacture them in basements and warehouses across the U.S. and abroad. And for several years, the industry was allowed to grow without interference from law enforcement.

But using these new synthetic drugs has proven dangerous and potentially lethal, and state and federal lawmakers are scrambling to enact new laws to ban the chemicals used to manufacture them.

News reports from across the country tell horrific stories: In Mississippi, it took six men to restrain a man high on bath salts who had shot and killed a sheriff’s deputy; an 18-year-old Michigan resident was found dead along the shore of Wing Lake after smoking herbal incense; and two teenagers died and several more were hospitalized after a house party in Oklahoma where they ingested a synthetic drug that was purchased on the Internet.

The mayhem is spreading across North Dakota as well, according to medical professionals and law enforcement leaders.

Statistics compiled by the state Attorney General’s Office show the use of synthetic drugs has increased rapidly during the past two years. In 2010, for instance, law enforcement officers submitted 216 samples of synthetic cannabinoids (herbal incense) and synthetic cathinones (bath salts) to the state crime lab for analysis. A year later, that number had grown to 1,225 samples, outpacing the number of methamphetamine samples and second only to the number of marijuana samples.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said those numbers indicate a “brand new wave” of synthetic drugs are hitting the streets. “Law enforcement and the medical community are scrambling to get ahead of the curve on this,” he said. “It’s a very dangerous trend.”

A Looming Public Health Crisis

Doctors across North Dakota said they’ve treated patients with symptoms including extreme nausea, hallucinations, voices in their heads and seizures as a result of using synthetic drugs. One patient “sloughed off” an arm after injecting a synthetic drug, and another patient who smoked herbal incense stopped breathing and had to be kept on a respirator until the drug burned out of his system.

Rob Howard, a doctor in Williston who owns Advanced Drug Testing Inc., said synthetic drugs represent a looming public health crisis because there is no legitimate way to research the long-term effects of human consumption. Even the short-term effects are too dangerous for reputable scientists to conduct human studies, he said.

“One of side effects is chemically induced psychosis,” he said. “In other words, people start hearing things and seeing things that aren’t there. One individual we were testing was in here, and I asked him if they had stopped yet, and he said ‘Have what stopped?’ And I said ‘The voices.’ And his head snapped up and said ‘How did you know?’ This was about three weeks after he stopped using.”

Dr. Paul Grooms, who works in the emergency room at Medcenter One, said synthetic drugs such as herbal incense and bath salts are extremely dangerous because they usually contain a cocktail of different chemicals that could include anything from rat poison to fertilizer. He said cases involving synthetic drug use are difficult to treat because there are so many different chemical compounds used to manufacture them and patients usually have no idea what they ingested.

“Even very small amounts can have adverse effects,” Grooms said. “There’s no antidote for these things because so little is known about them. All we can do is treat the symptoms.”

In some cases, it’s too late for doctors to do anything. Last month, two teenagers from the Grand Forks area died after taking synthetic drugs. Seventeen-year old Elijah Stai of Park Rapids, Minn., and 18-year old Christian Bjerk of Grand Forks died within days of each other after taking a synthetic hallucinogen in the form of a white powder.

Federal and state law enforcement agencies launched an investigation into the deaths of the two teenagers and, within days, issued a warning to the public that noted “there may be a large quantity of lethal synthetic drugs on the street right now in the North Dakota/Minnesota market.”

So far, two men have been charged with crimes in connection with the distribution of the synthetic drugs that killed the teenagers.

Staying Ahead of Law Enforcement

The proliferation of synthetic drugs has confounded law enforcement agencies and policymakers ever since the first marijuana imitations reached the market about five years ago. So far, the industry has managed to stay one step ahead of each new law intended to stop it from spreading.

State legislatures in more than 40 states have passed various laws to ban the sale and possession of the chemical compounds used to make the new drugs, and Congress recently outlawed 26 chemicals known to be used for manufacturing K2 and Spice. But each time a law is passed, the synthetic drug industry develops a new formula and releases the product on the streets.

“The law enforcement community is constrained by statute. The law has to prescribe what is prohibited,” Stenehjem said. “And the big problem for us is that there are any number of bathroom chemists out there who are tweaking the chemicals to come up with a different substance. These are people who just throw stuff together and sell it to people. These drugs aren’t manufactured in controlled settings.”

The North Dakota Legislature originally attacked the problem by banning the chemical compounds used to make specific types of synthetic drugs. But the industry was able to stay one step ahead by making slight molecular changes to the products. So, state lawmakers tried a different approach last year by banning the core structure of the chemicals so that any offshoots, or “chemical cousins,” would also be illegal.

But the problem is far from solved, said Charlene Schweitzer, a forensic scientist at the North Dakota Crime Lab.

“We defined the core structure of these groups and, if you look at the statute, basically made hundreds of compounds illegal,” she said. “But now the problem is there are new groups of compounds that we have yet to define. The chemistry changes so fast with these things. Every week, we’re seeing a new compound.”

Howard, the doctor in Williston, said his drug-testing company recently spent about $300,000 on equipment that can be adjusted to detect new chemical compounds that hit the market. But detecting synthetic drugs and stopping them from reaching the public are two completely different challenges, he said.

“By changing the molecular structure in just one position on the chain, you can come up with 10,000 different chemicals that have the same active backbone. And if you change two or more positions, you could create millions of different chemicals,” he said. “That’s what’s going to make this so difficult.”

-Matt Bunk is publisher of the Great Plains Examiner.


Fake Pot Is A Real Problem For Regulators


A screengrab from the Mr. Nice Guy site shows the company's products, including Relaxinol, which was blamed for contributing to an accidental death.

EnlargeNPRA screengrab from the Mr. Nice Guy site shows the company’s products, including Relaxinol, which was blamed for contributing to an accidental death.

This week, President Obama signed a law banning synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs. Dozens of states and local governments have already tried to outlaw fake marijuana, which has been blamed for hundreds of emergency room visits and a handful of fatalities.

But the bans have proved largely ineffective, and there are fears that the federal law won’t be any different.

Synthetic marijuana looks a bit like dried grass clippings. It’s readily available on the Internet and in convenience stores and smoke shops, where it’s sold as herbal incense or potpourri.

A Stand-In For Marijuana

At roughly $20 a gram, it’s unlikely that many buyers are using synthetic marijuana to freshen up the powder room. Most are smoking it as a substitute for real marijuana.

That’s what Aaron Stinson was doing last September.

“This is an actual packet that I found in his belongings, in his bedroom,” says his mother, Deirdre Canaday, as she holds up a small, shiny package.

The product is called Relaxinol — which, the label promises, can relieve “unwanted state of mind.” Canaday found the packet in Stinson’s apartment last year, shortly after he died in his sleep at a friend’s house in upstate New York.

“He had smoked a spice potpourri product called Mr. Nice Guy Relaxinol,” Canaday says. “And he went to sleep. And in the morning, about 9:30 a.m., his two friends woke up. But Aaron — they found him totally unresponsive, not breathing, no pulse.”

Canaday admits her son had a history of using drugs, specifically marijuana. But she says Stinson, who was 26, was getting his act together. He had a good job as a home health care aide. Canaday thinks Stinson was using synthetic marijuana that night for the same reason many people do: He was worried about passing a drug test for his job, and he knew that synthetic marijuana was not likely to show up.

“I think that my son, the only thing he did wrong was to be naive,” Canaday says, “to believe this stuff that’s packaged was all natural and safe, and a good alternative to something that was illegal — because it’s not.”

The pathologist determined the cause of Stinson’s death to be “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of ethanol (from alcohol consumption) and Relaxinol.” No charges were ever filed; the company that makes Relaxinol did not respond to requests for an interview.

Drugs Bring Side Effects And Uncertainty

There are no clinical studies about the health effects of synthetic marijuana. But anecdotally, health care providers report a long list of nasty side effects, from agitation and paranoia to intense hallucinations and psychosis.

Christine Stork, the clinical director of the Upstate New York Poison Control Center, says that she’s seen a steady stream of synthetic marijuana users turn up in emergency rooms over the past few years.

Deirdre Canaday says that the people who sell synthetic marijuana are "worse than the drug dealers on the street."

EnlargeJoel Rose/NPRDeirdre Canaday says that the people who sell synthetic marijuana are “worse than the drug dealers on the street.”

“They’re expecting a marijuana experience and pretty soon, they realize they’re not getting their usual experience,” she says. “They can be quite agitated. They can be quite paranoid. They require drugs to sedate them and may have seizures, which are pretty severe.”

Stork says synthetic marijuana can be 20 times as potent as real marijuana. But it’s hard to predict the strength of any particular brand or packet — in part because it’s remarkably easy for anyone to make and package synthetic marijuana without any oversight or regulation.

Video Tutorials In Drug Making

In a video posted on YouTube, an unidentified man shows how it’s done, using damiana, a Mexican shrub, as the base. All you need is some legal plant material and some chemical powders that can be easily ordered from overseas labs.

“Anybody with a working knowledge of chemistry, or that can follow a simple set of directions, can obtain and mix these substances and create these compounds,” says James Burns, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration in upstate New York.

Most states have already moved to ban some synthetic cannabinoids — the chemical compounds that are the key ingredient in synthetic marijuana. But Burns says it’s not that simple.

“You have people that are very good with chemistry, that continue to manipulate the molecular structure of these substances,” he says. “So that they are creating analogues, or substances that are similar to those that have been banned.”

The result is a big game of cat and mouse. The government outlaws a certain compound or family of compounds. But then producers tweak the chemical formula of their products to skirt the law.

A $5 Billion Market

Despite a slew of federal, state and local bans, sales in the synthetic drug industry seem to be growing — to roughly $5 billion a year, according to Rick Broider, president of the North American Herbal Incense Trade Association.

“You can’t stop the market,” he says. “You know, there’s no piece of legislation that’s going to stop market demand.”

Broider runs a company called Liberty Herbal Incense in New Hampshire, which he says recently changed its chemical formulas to keep its products legal. He insists his industry’s products are not for human consumption, though he concedes that some people may be misusing the product by smoking it.

“We’re aware that there are a number of people who do choose to misuse our products for their euphoric effect. We do not support that at all,” Broider says. “If you’re going to misuse a product, you’re basically incurring a large risk to yourself. But our question is, don’t Americans have the right to assume their own personal risk?”

Would Broider allow his children to smoke herbal incense or synthetic marijuana products?

“You know, if my children are under 18 years old, I would not allow them to do anything that I wouldn’t deem appropriate to be doing under 18 years old,” he says. “When they’re over 18 years old, I would see it no differently than alcohol or tobacco, which are two products that have been proven to be addictive and have have proven to have negative health consequences.”

That argument doesn’t convince Canaday, who blames her son’s death on a different brand of synthetic marijuana.

“I would say they’re cowards,” she says of manufacturers like Broider. “I would say they’re absolute cowards. And worse than the drug dealers on the street that sell illicit drugs.”

A New Federal Law

So far, law enforcement officials have been mostly stymied in their efforts to treat synthetic drugs makers like conventional drug dealers. This week, President Obama signed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012. It will mean tougher criminal penalties for selling some first-generation synthetic cannabinoids and many newer ones as well.

The new law should help, says Burns of the DEA.

“If we can make the bad guys react to what we’re doing instead of us reacting to what the bad guys are doing, then I think that’ll help us get a better handle on this issue,” he says.

But others worry that the new federal law is already obsolete.

“It’ll help in some regards, that these things need to be listed and controlled. And there’ll be no more discussion about, ‘I didn’t know,’ ” says Anthony Tambasco, a forensic scientist in Mansfield, Ohio. “But you’ll have, again, new compounds coming through the door that we’ll have to deal with.

As soon as Ohio outlawed a number of synthetic cannabinoids last year, Tambasco says, he started to see new compounds in local stores. And he expects drug makers will react just as quickly to the new federal ban.

“They already are. They’re already out in front of it. They’re already on their next batch,” he says.

When we spoke last week, Tambaso said there were already three synthetic cannabinoid samples he’d never seen before waiting for him in the lab.

Ban herbal incense, fake pot, bath salts in Palm Beach County?


Palm Beach County Commissioner Karen Marcus is pushing for a ban on the sale of herbal incense, synthetic marijuana and bath salts.

Marcus said she plans to introduce the concept to the rest of the commissioners Tuesday and ask them to consider passing a law that would prevent the sale or display of the substances, which authorities say can currently give a legal high to those who smoke or ingest them.

If the commission agrees, the county attorney’s office would begin researching an ordinance, Marcus said.

The commission is expected to begin discussing Marcus’ request at a meeting Tuesday.

Marcus said the measure would be modeled after an ordinance approved last month by leaders of a city in Broward County that blocked businesses from selling or displaying synthetic marijuana, known on the street as “Spice.”

The substances are readily available at many gas stations and convenience stores. Law enforcement officials say side effects from ingesting them can include hallucinations that last for days.

State lawmakers have passed laws the past two years banning bath salts, but local officials say that manufactures have continued to find a way to keep the items on the shelves by changing the ingredients or marking the packages with a warning that they are not intended for human consumption.

Marcus said she decided to bring the issue forward after receiving an email from a local parent about the problem and talking to a friend in Martin County whose son was addicted to herbal incense.

“This stuff puts holes in your brain,” Marcus said. “This is ridiculous that it is just something that (kids) can go into the gas station and get.”

Last month, Sunrise became the first city in Broward County, and the second in the state, to ban the sale and display of herbal incense. Businesses that violate the ban face code enforcement fines.

Sunrise officials are also working on an ordinance that would block businesses from manufacturing the substance.

Despite state laws regulating the substances, Sunrise Mayor Michael Ryan said city police officers were unable to keep the items off of store shelves. Ryan pointed to a loophole that he said lets businesses sell the substances as long as they are not intended for human consumption.

“We have never faced a public safety threat quiet like this,” Ryan said. “Here there is an entire industry that is pouring millions of dollars into marketing this as benign and safe. In reality they are unregulated and no one knows what they are putting in it.”

In a memo to commissioners, Marcus said she had discussed the ban with Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and he said the legislation would help his office combat this “growing problem.”

But Dr. David Bohorquez, the Emergency Department Medical Director at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, said that he has not seen many cases involving the items.

“Those aren’t the things that people overdose on,” Bohorquez said.