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Mark-Viverito: Illegal Synthetic Pot Rampant At East Harlem Bodegas

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Tuesday that illegal synthetic pot is rampant in East Harlem, and you don't even need to find a dealer to get some.

As WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported, Mark-Viverito is trying to do something about it.

Mark-Viverito said she has been hearing about it from people in her district. Synthetic pot might be illegal, but all it takes to find it is just to walk into a bodega.

Mark-Viverito: Illegal Synthetic Pot Rampant At East Harlem Bodegas

"East Harlem seems to be the hub of the distribution," she said.

At the speaker's request, police, along with teams from several city agencies, raided five stores that had already been warned, Silverman reported.

They found synthetic marijuana at two of them – 8,000 bags of it, Silverman reported.

The city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has linked synthetic marijuana to a spike in emergency room visits recently.

Mark-Viverito said enforcement of the laws against the substance is not so simple.

"The way this is packaged, it's almost like candy. The packaging is all different," she said. "They do different variations of the substance itself."

Mark-Viverito said she wants business owners to know authorities will be stopping by again sometime soon.

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