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Bill that would ban fake pot is stalled

Monday, February 22, 2010 | 6:26 p.m. CST; updated 8:07 p.m. CST, Monday, February 22, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY — The effort in the Missouri General Assembly to make Missouri the first state to ban synthetic marijuana hit a slight roadblock on Monday in the Missouri House of Representatives, but the bill's sponsor said he still expects the drug known as K2 to be outlawed.

The House Rules Committee was expected to vote on the legislation sponsored by Rep. Ward Franz, R-West Plains. Its language is similar to that of a bill introduced by Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, and discussed in committee last week. However, Franz said the House committee had mistakenly classified some of the other drugs included in the bill and it would need to be edited in the next week.

"I was lobbying for us to put the bill out and have it fixed on the House floor," Franz said. "However, that proved to be impossible, so we've gotta go back and change some things."

Like Schaefer's bill, Franz's legislation would add nearly a dozen drugs, including 1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole, which is the scientific classification for K2, to the state's Schedule I classification for drugs. Possession of the drug would be a misdemeanor, similar to marijuana, which has different penalties for possession of more or less than 35 grams.

The committee, of which Franz is not a member, voted 10 to 0 to send the bill back to the original committee. Franz said that would include adding some provisions from a similar bill introduced by Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart, a former police chief for Kimmswick in Jefferson County.

Franz said he thought the bill would come up again in next Monday's committee hearing and be passed at that time. The Rules Committee's chairman, Rep. Michael Parson, R-Bolivar, was also supportive and said he would make sure the legislation makes it to a full House vote.

"I'll be passing this bill out as soon as I get it," Parson said. "I'm an ex-law enforcement officer, and I feel very strongly on this." Parson was a sheriff in southwest Missouri.

Franz said he hadn't heard of any opposition to the bill, but one committee member said he is staunchly against it. Rep. John Burnett, D-Kansas City, said there was no rush for Missouri to be the first to ban K2, especially when its effects are so unclear.

"I think we ought not be banning things that are out on the fringes when there's no proof of what the harm is," said Burnett, who added that he thinks marijuana is currently misclassified as having no medical benefit. "Just because it has some psychoactive stuff in it doesn't mean we ought to ban it."

The bill has received support from House Speaker Ron Richard, R-Joplin, and Republicans hold majorities in the Rules Committee and in both chambers of the General Assembly. However, Burnett said he thought the session would end in May before the K2 legislation could be passed.

"We've got so many more important issues ahead of us," Burnett said. "The people who are pushing this are grandstanding about being tough on crime. Once they get their moment in the sun, this will go away."

Franz disagreed, saying that multiple law enforcement officials have told him, like Schaefer, that K2 is a dangerous narcotic. He also said he thinks the bill will be passed, saying the heads of all the pertinent committees – the ones the bill would need to go through to pass – have shown support.

Still, he added, he does worry that K2 could stay legal for another year if either his or Schaefer's bill runs into any more procedural issues. He said, though, that it has been a pretty fast run toward banning K2, a substance he hadn't heard of until last fall.

"It's always in your mind when bills get held up that they could die without a vote," Franz said. "But I had no idea that this K2 stuff would get as big as it has around here. I think if we can get the bill to the House floor in the next two weeks we will be all set."


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Comments

Ray Shapiro February 22, 2010 | 8:10 p.m.

("Bill that would ban fake pot is stalled")

Due to lack of concentration, no motivation, a bad case of the munchies and the inability to get off the couch and show up for session.

(Report Comment)
James Carroll February 24, 2010 | 9:24 p.m.

Why are people are constantly trying to outlaw anything that changes your state of consciousness. After years of research, 1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole has not yet been proven to have any dangerous toxic effects on the human body, yet thousands of additives that are in canned foods, fast food, and children's candy are all FDA approved and have never undergone such extensive scrutiny... and an overwhelming amount of them such as artificial sweeteners are proven to cause damage to the body, yet they still remain FDA approved for consumption.

It's like someone with authority is constantly saying "God forbid that you ever experience any state of being other than the one that you've been prescribed by your society."... Yet they believe that it's perfectly Ok to ruin your health with non-psychoactive substances that are proven to be linked to cancer.

I think the time will come very soon when our nation as a whole will understand that the nature of our consciousness is the most important frontier to pioneer and come to a higher realization of, but the Dark Alliance will continue to try to delay the inevitable. They don't like it when you figure out how to break their voodoo spells.

I share with you this quote...
"Western societies have been on a decentralizing bender for five hundred years, concluding that the Earth is not the center of the universe and man is not the beloved of God. We have moved ourselves out toward the edge of the galaxy, when the fact is that the most richly organized material in the universe is the human cerebral cortex, and the densest and richest experience in the universe is the experience you are having right now. Everything should be constellated outward from the perceiving self. That is the primary datum."
Terence McKenna - Tryptamine Hallucinogens and Consciousness

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking February 23, 2011 | 3:30 p.m.

James Carroll wrote:

"After years of research, 1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole has not yet been proven to have any dangerous toxic effects on the human body"

The issue is more that people use too much of it and wind up in the ER. For example, Four Loko was reformulated, not because alcohol and caffeine together were so bad for you, but because there was so much of each in a can. Some people just couldn't handle it, and we all know that legislators love to look like they are protecting the public.

"yet thousands of additives that are in canned foods, fast food, and children's candy are all FDA approved and have never undergone such extensive scrutiny"

I can guarantee you that any artificial sweetener, or other preservative or additive, has undergone far more scrutiny (plus far more real world experience) than JWH-018 or anything like it has. Huffman himself has stated no one should be using his research chemicals as drugs.

However, I am against the ban, as I am against bans on pretty much any substance as long as one does not force it on anyone else. Why don't we just legalize the real thing and this wouldn't even be an issue?

DK

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire February 23, 2011 | 4:24 p.m.

I say it is high time to remove the banners!
(and shred them)

(Report Comment)
Josie Jones September 21, 2011 | 3:58 p.m.

If it weren't for the prohibition of marijuana, folks would not buy k2 incense alternatives. Why would they? If people had legal access to the real deal they would not be hunting down k2 herb and the like. Just as the government has wasted endless resources chasing down marijuana, now they are going to do the same with this incense stuff. It is ridiculous and wasteful in more ways than one. How long have these products been banned, and there are still places advertising legal everywhere products like those found at http://www.buyk2.com .

(Report Comment)

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