Man accused of Alaska fake pot epidemic goes to prison
An Alaska man accused of largely contributing to a synthetic marijuana epidemic on the Kenai Peninsula has been sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison.
Soldotna resident Phillip Kneeland was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to charges related to selling synthetic marijuana and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
Kneeland was arrested in December 2015 after multiple agencies raided his business and found about 6,000 packets of synthetic marijuana. Officials say the Kenai Peninsula epidemic essentially stopped after Kneeland's arrest.
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services states synthetic pot is an herbal mixture sprayed with laboratory-generated chemicals that mimic effects of pot.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states more than 1,300 people were transported to Anchorage hospitals because of synthetic pot between July 2015 and March 2016.