published Friday, May 11th, 2012

Tainted synthetic marijuana blamed for rash of kidney problems in DeKalb, Cherokee counties

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    Several varieties of synthetic marijuana can be purchased in select convenience stores.
    Photo by Angela Lewis.
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Northeast Alabama authorities say a rash of kidney problems involving at least 30 people in DeKalb and Cherokee counties have been linked to potentially tainted synthetic marijuana.

DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris said District Attorney Mike O’Dell obtained information from area health officials that indicated that cases of kidney problems in at least 30 people between ages 15 and 33 could be linked to synthetic marijuana that contained pesticides or herbicides.

“They were having kidney failure; they were having the same symptoms,” he said.

A new Alabama law that went into effect Thursday bans the substance, and now law enforcement has a weapon they can use to fight back.

“We’re going after everybody in our county that’s selling it,” Harris said today. “We’ve had several calls this morning about several places that were selling it behind the counter.”

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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