Police in Gloucester Township, New Jersey, have found vaping pens containing extremely potent marijuana oil, and warn that harder drugs are also making their way into e-cigarettes.
Police pulled over a car with about 3,000 vaping cartridges containing marijuana oil with an 88 percent concentration of THC, the compound in marijuana that gives people a high. Gloucester Township Police Department Captain Brendan Barton told Fox 29 marijuana in its regular form contains only 12 to 18 percent THC.
Police found the cartridges after pulling over a car that ran a red light on May 21. Mahdi El-Abed, 23, of Maryland, and two other men were arrested. El-Abed is facing a range of drug charges, according to Fox 29.
“One of the major problems is that when somebody smokes marijuana you can usually smell that from far away. But with these vaping pens you smell nothing but what the flavor is,” said Barton. “And they make the flavors that are eye-catching to children: birthday cake, wedding cake, mango, peach, strawberry, things that they would want to try.”
Police said vaping pens are a danger because kids in middle and high school are using them, and school officials say they are hard to detect.
In 2016, CDC studies revealed that over 3.9 million American middle and high school students admitted to using e-cigarettes at least once within the last 30 days.
“If you smell pineapples in the back of the class because a student potentially was using it, you would not know instinctively that it’s a tobacco product or even potentially THC,” Timber Creek High School principal Kasha Giddis said at a press conference.
Barton said on the West Coast, people are using vaping pens for more dangerous and addictive substances.
“They’re saying that people are using these vape pens now for heroin, cocaine. We haven’t caught that here in New Jersey, or in Gloucester Township, but they’re saying [on the] West Coast, that it’s working its way over,” Barton told Fox 29.