NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton warned Tuesday about the rise of what he called “weaponized marijuana” — synthetic pot known as “K2″ or “Spice” on the streets — which makes users psychotic while giving them superhuman strength.
The drug, which cops say is prevalent in the homeless community, is a cheap high that also increases body temperature, leading users to strip naked.
“A better term for it might be weaponized marijuana,” Bratton told reporters at a press conference at police headquarters.
“A number of individuals, when under the influence of this drug, are relatively impervious to pain and also have significant enhancement of their physical strength,” he said.
“So our officers encountering these individuals face more significant risk of having to subdue these individuals and potentially receiving injuries.”
Spice users are impervious to traditional takedown methods used by cops, such as tasers and mace, officials said.
Bratton illustrated his point by showing two videos of people high on the chemical-laced substance, including one in which a naked man is seen squatting in the middle of the street and screaming in front of an NYPD van.
Another video showed cops from out of state struggling to bring down a high, naked man who put his fist through a picket fence before they maced him. The rampaging man still managed to put up a fight as three officers wrestled him into submission.
“You’re going to see much more of it in the short term,” Bratton said of the drug. “Our concern in the potential overdose and death, the incredible number of people going to hospitals as well as those that we take into custody.”
Bratton added that while local politicians look to loosen marijuana laws, the synthetic stuff is wreaking havoc across the city.
“Ironically, even as the trend is to decriminalize and effectively pay less attention to marijuana, the synthetic marijuana issue is one of great and growing concern here in New York City,” he said.