nj.com: New potent pot making its way into N.J. suburbs, police say


Arrest 2 Jan 16.jpeg
The arrest of a Montville man by Mendham police this week netted drugs and cash, including marijuana wax. Wax, a more potent form of marijuana, is being encountered by police departments across the state more often. (Mendham Police Department)
Fausto Giovanny Pinto | NJ Advance Media for NJ.comBy Fausto Giovanny Pinto | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com 
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on January 15, 2016 at 9:00 AM, updated January 15, 2016 at 4:51 PM

MENDHAM — The recent seizure of marijuana during a Mendham traffic stop highlights a growing trend toward a more powerful form of the drug, police and officials say.

During the Monday arrest of 19-year-old Paul Saryan, of Montville, police recovered cash, more than a pound of marijuana and nine folds of "marijuana wax."

Wax, also known as "shatter" or "dabs," is a refined form of the active chemical found in marijuana, THC, that has been appearing across the state in recent years.

"We have seen a big uptick," said Lt. Ross Johnson of the Medham Police Department. "We have had 15 to 20 arrests in the last 12 months due to the drug."

Arrests in which police have seized marijuana wax have been reported throughout the state including in GloucesterHunterdonOceanSussexand Union counties. Last year, when Morris County authorities announced their largest pot bust ever, part of that operation seized marijuana wax, which gets its name from its gooey and sticky consistency.

"We are hearing reports about the drug from law enforcement across the state," said Angela Conover, a spokeswoman with The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

To make the drug, butane and other chemicals are used to draw out THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, from marijuana plants, said Bruce Ruck, director of Drug Information Services at New Jersey Poison Control.

Regular marijuana has a THC potency level of less than 10 percent, while wax can have a potency of up to 95 percent, Conover said.


Cops bust man with half-pound of pot, cash, beer during traffic stop

Cops bust man with half-pound of pot, cash, beer during traffic stop

Police later found half a pound of marijuana with a street value of about $2800.


Ruck said his center has seen a few cases of people who suffered hallucinations from wax in the past couple months.

"Marijuana wax is not marijuana," Ruck warned. "There is an extremely bad hallucinatory side effect."

In Mendham, Johnson said police have responded to calls for people who were "far beyond high and debilitated" on wax.

Both Ruck and Johnson warned that users don't know what they are ingesting when smoking wax due to the chemical process used in making the drug.

"It's the meth of the marijuana world," Johnson said. "The way it is cooked."

The popularity of the drug has soared in recent years due to its increased potency, lack of odor and ease of concealment – the drug can be loaded into E-cigarettes.

"The drug can be smoked through vaporizers," Conover said.

Perceptions that the drug is safer than regular marijuana could be leading people to the drug, but Johnson warned that wax could be 20 to 30 times more potent than regular marijuana.

"It is some pretty dangerous stuff," Johnson said.

Fausto Giovanny Pinto may be reached at fpinto@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @FGPreporting. Find NJ.com on Facebook.