Nothing like a little tabloid hysteria to go and get things banned. The Daily News, which has been on a weeklong war against synthetic marijuana is now happily crowing that the New York State Department of Health is getting ready to ban the stuff statewide. Like, today.

There isn't anything about the ban from the Health Department yet (though they did put out a warning about synthetic marijuana earlier this week) but Cuomo reportedly told the tabloid this:

"We are banning the sale of synthetic marijuana because, no matter what you call it, it’s clear that this is an illegal drug which is putting the health of New Yorkers, especially young adults, at risk,” Gov. Cuomo told The News.
“By acting now we can put parents’ minds at ease by preventing the spread of synthetic marijuana in our communities and our schools.
We need to stop this problem before it starts and get this drug off the shelves of every store in our state to protect our children’s health and safety.”

Seems that some shops had already stopped stocking just in case. Last night Gothamist heard of fans of the "incense" being unable to find it on shelves on both the Upper West Side and Bay Ridge. The Health Department is expected to send out an order today saying that the sale and distribution of the drug must "cease immediately." State legislation to ban the stuff—as well as any substance capable of the psychoactive effects of marijuana—is still pending. Meanwhile a federal ban is being held up by Senator Rand Paul, who has expressed concerns its too aggressive in its penalties.

According to the Health Department, "severe side effects including death, acute renal failure, as well as other significant negative effects to the cardiovascular and central nervous systems have been linked to use of" synthetic weed. Still, the most common symptoms sound pretty familiar (well, maybe not the last two):

  • tachycardia (increased heart rate)

  • paranoid behavior, agitation/irritability

  • nausea and vomiting

  • confusion

  • drowsiness

  • headache

  • hypertension

  • electrolyte abnormalities

  • seizures

  • syncope (loss of consciousness)

All of which is to say, if you've been aching to smoke some fake weed like all those crazy kids...better stock up fast.