RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina lawmakers are backing a plan to outlaw a legal chemical that mimics the effects of marijuana.

A state Senate committee on Thursday voted to recommend legislation to impose penalties similar to real marijuana for possessing or selling a synthetic compound sold in gas stations and convenience stores under names including 'Spice' and 'K2.' The products mix herbs and spices that are sprayed with a chemical compound similar to the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

The synthetic marijuana is legal in most states and is hard to discover through drug testing.

A Greensboro police captain and others say the compounds can strike users with tremors, seizures and other effects that require emergency hospital care.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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