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If you’re not willing to roll the dice on having charges dropped against you for growing pot at home, you might want to smoke fake pot instead.

The substance is legal, if pricey; just 3 grams can set you back $40. But it reportedly has the same effect as cannabis. Synthetic marijuana, which looks a lot like potpourri, is sold as incense. A Cleveland Park listserv post written by D.C. police Detective John Paprcka in Octobersuggested the counterfeit weed had hit District schools.

A provision in At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson’s Criminal Code Amendment bill is aimed at banning the stuff. Mendelson says he’s attempting “to work up the bill for this week.” So the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary may vote on it Thursday.

Mendelson says synthetic marijuana needs to go, both because it’s a “loophole” and because “there might be problems with public health.” The substance is said to cause high blood pressure, and heart palpitations in some.

If Mendelson’s legislation goes through, one avid Spice (a brand of the man-made pot) smoker will be very disappointed. The enthusiast, who asked City Desk not to name him, says he uses synthetic weed daily, and can’t say enough good things about it. He says it’s different from pot. “It doesn’t have as much depth” and doesn’t last as long, but still gets the job done.

Another great thing about it:”I don’t believe it to be physically addictive.” The smoker doesn’t want to see the substance banned, but wouldn’t mind another kind of government intervention. “I’d like to see it regulated,” he says.

Of course, to state the obvious, if authorities would “regulate” marijuana as opposed to prohibiting it, no one would have to toke up on its iffy chemical stand-in.

*Photo by Darrow Montgomery