officials said no synthetic marijuana was found at retail locations in the county during Tuesday's enforcement checks.
"We really didn't expect to," Sheriff Scott Berry said. "We just wanted to make sure that stores didn't have any in stock or have any on the shelves. We just felt like we wanted to make sure it wasn't being sold in any store in Oconee County."
Tuesday's enforcement checks were conducted throughout the county after the Berry says the State Board of Pharmacy announced Monday that it adopted an emergency rule which classified synthetic cannabinoids as Schedule I drugs. Other drugs classified under Schedule I include heroin, methamphetamines and ecstasy.
Synthetic marijuana, which is sometimes sold in convenience stores and smoke shops, has been reported to cause health problems such as high blood pressure, excessive sweating and seizures. The drug is often made of plant and herbs sprayed with one of five outlawed chemicals and was However, makers of synthetic marijuana often change their formula in order to continue selling the drug legally, Berry said.
"The problem with it is that nobody knows what exactly is in those products," he said. "The manufacturers vary the formula, depending on who's making it. You don't know what you're getting."
The drug has no known medicinal benefits, Berry said.
"This is just a concoction of trash put together to give people something to smoke," he said. "There's no known value whatsoever."
Although no synthetic marijuana was found in stores during the enforcement checks, use of synthetic marijuana has been reported in the county, Berry said.
"The last time synthetic marijuana was reported, a driver was smoking a bowl of it while driving down the road," Berry said. "It wasn't a Schedule I drug at the time so there was nothing we could do. We couldn't seize the substance. But since it's Schedule I now, we can seize it."
Berry said any citizen aware of synthetic marijuana being sold in the county should alert authorities immediately.
"If any citizen knows of any place that sells it, they can report it to local law enforcement," he said. "That would be extremely helpful."