Across the nation, city, county and state officials are taking action to deter the use of K2, which is referred to as a synthetic marijuana, and produces a marijuana-like high to those who consume it.
Arkansas cities (Alpena, Greenwood, Ozark, Paris and Springdale) along with Benton, Crawford and Sebastian counties have joined the ranks of Kansas, Missouri and a number of nations which have banned the substance. K2 presently is not classified as an illegal drug, making it legal to purchase, possess and use in most areas internationally, and thus leaving the lower level governments to take protective measures for their citizens. Most are doing this by adding an emergency clause to the proposed ordinance banning K2, allowing it to take effective immediately once the ban is passed.
Spice, aka K2, has been made illegal to possess, purchase or use in the following nations: Austria, Chile, Finland, France, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom. This shows the need to control K2 in the world marketplace.
Manufactured in Asia and sold online or in local stores, K2 and similar substances are marketed as herbal incense. A disclaimer on a K2-selling web site reads: "K2 Herbal products are novelty incenses and are not for consumption."
Unlike most drugs, there is no way to detect its use in a person, making concerns over its dangers even greater, with effects that appear to be much stronger than marijuana, three to five times more potent, making it a major a threat to communities. In the United States, hospitalization cases have been reported in Florida, Maine and Arkansas, in addition to St. Louis, Springfield and Kansas City.
The psychoactive drug can cause users to experience rapidly increased heart rates, loss of consciousness, paranoia and, occasionally, psychotic episodes. One hospitalized user claimed that he could see his heart beating out of his chest. Individuals react differently to the drug.
Since the ban has been in place, one K2-related arrest has been made in the Arkansas county of Crawford. It seems that the police were notified of a possible drug transaction in the parking lot of one of the city's malls. As one vehicle was departing, one of the arriving officers noticed a traffic violation, giving cause to conduct a traffic stop.
The officers found an unopened package of K2 in the driver's glove compartment. There was no indication that the driver or his juvenile passenger had used the substance. They each now face a fine of up to $1000 and/or confinement for up to a year.
Sold in various flavors in 3-gram bags, the product consists of herbs that are sprayed with synthetic substances that mimic THC, the high-causing natural chemical found in marijuana. Laboratories have found that K2/Spice contains large amounts of synthetic tocopherol, which is not listed as one of its active ingredients.
Until the U.S. Drug Administration places the ingredient, JW-018, on its scheduling, K2 or Spice will continue to be sold legally by public retailers and on the internet.