Couple arrested under new drug law
by Staff Writer
Recently made illegal in North Carolina, the synthetic marijuana, sold under several names including Spice and K2, was allegedly purchased at a store in Cornelius.
Deputies were called to the home at 5721 E. N.C. 27 on June 24 to investigate a drug overdose and found James Luke Sankowich, 19, and Hannah Elizabeth Thompson impaired from an unknown substance, deputies said.
Sankowich told deputies he had Thompson buy some of the synthetic marijuana from an unnamed Cornelius store and got sick after smoking it.
Emergency officials rushed Thompson to CMC-Lincoln for treatment. Sankowich refused medical help, police said.
The couple was charged with possession of a synthetic cannabinoid, possession of a Schedule VI drug, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, deputies said. They were taken to the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center on a $2,500 bond. Both are scheduled to appear in court July 13.
In October, several Lake Norman parents sent off harried missives to their representatives after a Huntersville teenager nearly died from smoking a synthetic form of marijuana at a party. At the time, the substance was legal in North Carolina.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers said an overdose on the drug can cause anxiety, paranoia, racing heartbeats, elevated blood pressure and nausea.
In December, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration banned synthetic marijuana, and the N.C. legislature followed suit. The state’s law banning the substances took effect June 1 making it illegal to make, possess or distribute the synthetic drug. The law also bans substances commonly called “bath salts,” which are usually snorted. The drugs were sold as bath salts, incense and plant food.
Cornelius Police Chief Bence Hoyle said his officers have made it a priority to check out stores that had previously sold the drugs.
“We have visited all our stores that sold it well before the ban and have sent officers back in to look around. If somebody or business is intent on violating the law they can sell it and take that chance, I guess, but they will leave in handcuffs if we catch them,” he said in an email.
Hoyle said he could not comment on the Lincolnton investigation.
– Staff report