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Prosecutor proposes K2 ban

Thursday, August 19, 2010

K2, an incense blend containing herbs, spices and synthetic cannabinoids, is available for purchase at several locations in Putnam County. Banner Graphic/JAMIE BARRAND
GREENCASTLE -- Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter has proposed an ordinance that would ban the local sales of an incense blend known by the brand names K2 or Spice.

The ordinance will go to the Putnam County Commissioners in the near future.

The substance is made of herbs, spices and synthetic cannabinoids (a blanket term for compounds found in the cannabis plant that are structurally related to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a main component of marijuana).

Mostly produced in China and Korea and sold throughout the world as incense, K2 has become increasingly popular as a smoked recreational drug (despite a warning label that says it is for "aromatherapy use only" and is "not for consumption").

It is legal and readily available across the United States and online.

"I have received a number of complaints from citizens about the sale of these items, including to minors in our county," Bookwalter said. "They are being sold in Putnam County, and the research shows they pose a risk to public safety."

Some types of K2 are Blonde, Summit, Standard, Blue, Pink and Citron.

"It is sold at convenience stores as incense, but sometimes rolling papers are sold right next to it," Bookwalter said. "The Indiana Poison Control Center has reported 76 cases of Spice toxicity this year."

In addition, Bookwalter said, the July death of a Middletown woman was possibly linked to K2 use.

"I have discussed this with law enforcement officials, physicians and (Greencastle) Mayor Sue Murray," Bookwalter said. "We will all encourage the commissioners to pass this ordinance."

A local convenience store employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he frequently sells K2 at his store, and that people come in specifically looking for it.

"Unfortunately, we sell a lot of it," he said. "I personally sell probably at least two packages a day, and that's just me."

The employee said he hopes the local ban is successful and that K2 will be taken out of his store.

"I hate selling it to people," he said.

Bookwalter said he urged parents to "watch this issue closely."

Negative side effects of K2 use can include increased agitation and vomiting. Some users have also reported experiencing hallucinations and paranoia.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration considers K2 a "drug of concern."

"We're in the early stages of trying to figure out how potent it is," DEA Spokesman David Ausiello said during a July interview with USA Today.

The sale and possession of K2 has been banned in Kansas, Kentucky and Iowa, and the Arkansas Board of Health recently passed an emergency order to ban the sale of K2 in the state.

Alabama and Missouri have banned K2 altogether. Along with Indiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois are taking measures to ban the substance.

When the Indiana Legislature reconvenes in January, State Rep. John Barnes (D-Indianapolis) plans to introduce a bill that would outlaw K2 for sale or use statewide.

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That's great but most people purchase it online anyways.

-- Posted by oh-wow! on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 1:58 AM

Legalize marijuana! It doesn't cause agitation and vomiting or hallucinations and paranoia (except the paranoia assoicated with getting busted). That would eliminate the need for people to smoke incense, silly people.

-- Posted by '74tiger on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 6:46 AM

"Smoking Spice can cause agitation, anxiety,

accelerated heart beat and elevated blood pressure

-- all OPPOSITE effects from marijuana. The synthetic compounds can be up to 20 times more potent than THC. Other side effects include

paleness, numbness, tingling, hallucination,

drowsiness, slurred speech, dilated pupils,

tremors or seizures,according to the Indiana

Poison Center."

-- Posted by '74tiger on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 8:01 AM

Mr. Bookwalter please help me understand. Banning the sale does not make the substance something that is not "legal" it merely makes it harder to get. If Indiana only bans the sale what was accomplished? Boone county Judges states it's a mood altering substance and says if you are on probation you cannot use K2 or Spice. Can they actually do anything about someone using a legal substance? I realize they can tell a person who was placed on probation for drinking not to drink but this seems a little differant. I agree to make it not legal but simply banning the sale seems silly. By the way I don't and never will nor have I ever tried K2.

-- Posted by Trying hard on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 8:28 AM

i hope the nation, one day, will see a generation of law makers make alcohol and cigarettes illegal.

-- Posted by Sputty on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 12:14 PM

just legalize pot look at california lots of money

-- Posted by B. Page on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 5:04 PM

"i hope the nation, one day, will see a generation of law makers make alcohol and cigarettes illegal."

They tried that once. It didn't work.

-- Posted by LangdonUlger on Fri, Aug 20, 2010, at 12:21 AM

The news reported Boone County has found a "Test" that will detect "Spice"

-- Posted by Trying hard on Sat, Aug 21, 2010, at 5:49 PM

Aren't they fighting a never-ending battle? As soon as they ban one chemical, it seems there are several new ones to replace it. http://www.k2herbincense.com/ claims to have stuff that is legal in every single state. Are they going to keep banning these substances as they come up? That's going to be costly and as you can see, not so effective.

-- Posted by ashbash584 on Mon, Nov 8, 2010, at 12:13 PM

It is absurd that marijuana is still pretty much illegal in this day and age. Now they are chasing down this K2 herbal incense stuff. Where will it end?? It won't. Do you know why? It's a never ending freaking cycle! There are constantly new formulations of K2 incense coming out to get around these ridiculous bans which are trying to get around the ban on marijuana in the first place. Why do we have to be up in each other's business? This is supposed to be the land of the free and it is hardly that! If someone wants to buy k2 they will. After all the effort they have been putting into banning this stuff, http://www.k2-incense.com is still able to offer legal k2 incense products. I told you. Wasted money. Wasted efforts.

-- Posted by ashbash584 on Wed, Mar 30, 2011, at 3:54 PM

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