COLUMBIA — In March, the Missouri House amended a ban on synthetic marijuana, also known as K2, to make any possession charge a Class C felony. The Missouri Senate reversed the House provision on Wednesday so that only possession of 35 grams or more would be considered as a felony, and possession of less would be a misdemeanor. Possession of marijuana carries the same charges.
Senators didn't disagree about the ban of K2, but rather the charges that offenders would receive.
Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, compared K2 less to marijuana and more to methamphetamines because both are chemically synthesized. But according to the Johnson County Criminalistics Laboratory in Mission, Kan., the cannabinoids used in K2 gives users a high similar to the THC compound found in marijuana.
Some Democrats said the felony charge for any amount in possession was too much. Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, said the felony charge for all possession charges didn't make sense when the state is attempting to reduce the amount of non-violent offenders in prisons.
The bill passed the Senate 32-0 and would go into effect immediately upon being signed by the governor.
The revised bill awaits House approval or a compromise needs to be made between the different versions in a conference committee.
How should possession of K2 be punished? Should it be treated the same as marijuana?