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Synthetic Marijuana in Powder Form: An Arizona Business Claims to Sell Pure JWH

Back in February, we wrote about a relatively new chemical compound called JWH that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration -- and numerous curious users -- said had the same effect as marijuana when smoked. 

JWH is used in "herbal incense" blends like Spice, Puff, and K2, which are widely available at most Valley head shops.

Since February, six states have banned the sale of products containing JWH, and seven other states are considering similar legislation. Arizona is not among either group; it's still perfectly legal here. 

On May 28, the Department of Defense banned it from all U.S. military bases. Even the creator of the JWH compound, Clemson University organic chemistry professor John W. Huffman, has gone on record saying the compound was never tested on humans and that ingesting it is "dangerous."

Still, the JWH market is bigger than ever in states where it's still unregulated -- like Arizona, where head shops rake in thousands of dollars a week from the sale of herbal incense blends containing JWH compounds, and Valley entrepreneurs have launched a business called JWH-018buyonline.com.

But the products being sold on JWH-018buyonline.com aren't leafy green herbal incense blends at all. Jake Roberts, who says he's providing financial backing for the business, says what they're selling is something new -- packets of pure JWH.

The JWH-018buyonline.com web site includes prices, which range from $55 for one gram to $950 for 20 grams, and also includes a phone number under "contact," where we caught Roberts, who agreed to answer some of our questions.

There aren't any photos of your product on the website. What exactly are you selling?
I have the pure form of JWH, which is a white, crystalline powder form. The Spice products come up with an herbal blend containing god-knows-what -- leaf and plant material, mostly. We're offering the pure form of the JWH. It's much stronger than the blends people buy in head shops.

This stuff you're selling isn't made in somebody's kitchen, is it?
Oh God, no. No, no, no. My manufacturer is out of California -- it's a chemical research facility. These JWH compounds, they are research chemicals. It's a professional lab. People who've bought from me in the past send e-mails about the quality of our JWH. There's another company, jwhsupply.com, that uses the same manufacturer, and they are very reputable also. I don't think they'd want me to name the manufacturer, but I will say that our JWH has a 99.8 percent purity, and the impurity is H20 -- water. The product is also quite safe. JWH was invented in 1995, and all the research since then shows it's safe. There's a clinical study being done on how it can help against Alzheimer's --

I haven't found any research that says JWH is safe at all.
I have a bunch of studies. I'll send you links to them. [Editor's note: We'll post a follow-up blog when we receive them]. There's a lot of information on the Internet about JWH, too. Even Wikipedia explains how JWH is basically a cannibanoid, and cannabinoids are one of the safest chemicals known to man. It's impossible to overdose on cannibanoids, or THC [the active psychoingredient in marijuana].

How have sales been?
Sales have been slow, but we've only been in business a year and a half, and we just started advertising. It's difficult to change people's habits, I think. People are used to smoking the leafy blends you can buy at the store, and aren't so quick to switch to a powder. But it's soon to be a huge market. It's gained a lot of popularity. I'm just trying to get the word out on the pure form.

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