WESTLAKE, LA (KPLC-TV) – It's popular with the young crowd and many convenience store owners, but synthetic cannabinoid, or fake pot, is now illegal in Louisiana.
Most commonly referred to by its brand names "K2," "VooDoo," and "Spice," synthetic cannabinoid is a chemical similar to THC, the active ingredient found in marijuana.
But citing growing concerns from parents and police, Louisiana lawmakers voted unanimously to ban the substance in June.
Anyone caught manufacturing, distributing or possessing the herbal mixture could face six months to five years in jail.
The penalties grow after each subsequent offense.
Many convenience store owners say the ban will hurt their businesses.
Patricia Maynard, co-owner of Westlake's Quick Stop, said selling the herbal substances has allowed her to stay in business and keep her electricity on.
Now, that the state has banned synthetic cannabinoid, Maynard is worried her business will suffer.
"Look how much revenue the state's going to lose," said Maynard. "I really don't understand it. I really don't understand their reasoning behind it and yeah, it's definitely going to hurt my business."
As of Saturday evening, Maynard only had a few packs of synthetic cannabinoid on the shelves.
Maynard said customers were purchasing as much as they could before the ban took effect.
Synthetic cannabinoid is still legal if prescribed by a doctor as a homeopathic drug.