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Fake Pot: Lawmakers Push to Regulate Synthetic Marijuana

By Kamika Dunlap on February 18, 2010 2:00 PM

It looks like pot. Smells like pot.

But cops call K2 -- or "Spice," Genie" and "Zohai" imitation pot.

So, is K2 is the new fake pot?

According to the Associated Press, K2 is a mixture of spices herbs and a compound similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Authorities in Kansas say they have found everyone from ex-convicts on probation to high school students using the substance. It can be rolled up in joints or inhaled from pipes, just like the real thing.

However, the drug does not show up on marijuana drug screens, experts say.

It is commonly sold in three-gram, $30 packs and comes in a variety of flavors, including "Blonde" and "Citrus," police say.

For the most part, K2 is banned in Europe but its ingredients have not been regulated in the U.S. As a result, the lapse in the law has prompted lawmakers to look into new legislations.

K2 is mainly sold in headshops as incense. If Kansas becomes the first state in the country to ban synthetic cannabinoids, it could lose out on revenue from head-shop taxes. In addition, it could hinder research that might lead to treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

But that hasn't stopped legislation from moving forward.

For example, a proposed bill in Missouri would make possession of K2 a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison. A similar bill in Kansas would make possession a misdemeanor punishable with up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The punishments under these proposed laws are the same ones given to users of real marijuana.

 

 

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