Big buzzkill heading the way of synthetic marijuana consumers in Missouri, where lawmakers have voted to ban the substance known as K2, a blend of herbs treated with synthetic marijuana.
The New York Times reports on the prohibition, signed on Tuesday by Gov. Jay Nixon, which makes it illegal for consumers to possess K2. Missouri is the eight state to do this year, after a slew of health problems and emergency room visits have been attributed to the drug. Six more states have pending legislation on the matter.
Those against K2 cite instances of elevated heart rates, paranoia, vomiting and hallucinations and in one case, death.
“It’s like a tidal wave,” said Ward Franz, the state representative who sponsored Missouri’s legislation. “It’s almost an epidemic. We’re seeing middle-school kids walking into stores and buying it.”
The drug — sometimes known as Spice, Demon or Genie —– is sold openly in gas stations, head shops and, of course, online. It’s readily available from the gas station to the Internet and can sell for as much as $40 per gram. The active ingredients are synthetic cannabinoids that have been said to give the consumer a THC-like experience.
It’s tough for medical experts and lawmakers to get a handle on the drug, since so many iterations of it are out there and seem to be continually popping up, and not so much is really known about its effects across the board. As the NYT puts it, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that so far this year there have been 567 K2-related calls, up quite a bit from 13 in 2009.
So not cool, bro.
Synthetic Marijuans Spurs State Bans [New York Times]