More of now banned synthetic pot hits streets in Kansas, Missouri

Thursday, September 8, 2011 | 4:51 p.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY — Police in Kansas and Missouri report a multitude of synthetic marijuana busts after lawmakers banned the herb-based product that was once sold openly in coffeehouses, gas stations and convenience stores.

In Kansas City, police reported that investigators recovered more than 12 pounds of the substance during an early August violent-crime initiative.

The Kansas City Star reported that an earlier raid yielded 10,000 packets of synthetic pot, each weighing 3 to 5 grams. And a citizen complaint recently led to the seizure of 1,000 grams at a retail establishment, said Maj. Jan Zimmerman, commander of the narcotics and vice division of the Kansas City Police Department.

"We're just raking it in," Kansas City police Sgt. Brad Dumit said. "We're seeing it all over the place."

Johnson County Sheriff's Department Deputy Tom Erickson said the substance is showing up in all the typical places where illegal drugs are found.

Police and public health experts say that users seeking the more benign high associated with marijuana may be unprepared for the synthetic version, most commonly known as K2 or K3. Users describe a more intense but shorter high, with effects lasting about 20 minutes as opposed to several hours.

Lawmakers in both Kansas and Missouri last year outlawed chemicals used to produce it. But synthetic pot once again proliferated after slight variations were made to its chemical makeup that weren't covered by the law.

"It's hard to stay ahead of designer drugs," said Sen. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka. "People designing them can be very creative."

This year, lawmakers went one step further, approving new laws covering the entire class of chemical compounds that were being used to circumvent the previous laws.

"I think the new law covers all of those variables," Zimmerman said of the new Missouri law. "The new legislation closes that loophole."

Under the beefed up Missouri and Kansas laws, distribution and manufacture of the banned substances is a felony. Possession of small amounts is considered a misdemeanor.

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Harold Sutton September 8, 2011 | 8:26 p.m.

So my question is; why can't this junk be traced back to the source. The retail outlets that have been selling it should have records of their suppliers. If they don't then they must also be complicit and should prosecuted. Bath salts, K2, K3, they knew what they were selling and should be treated same as a major dealer. No misdemeanor pleas allowed.

(Report Comment)
Gerald Shelnutt September 8, 2011 | 11:01 p.m.

Make it legal and tax it

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 9, 2011 | 12:03 a.m.

Yes, yes, let's ban this evil chemical weed and continue to sell alcohol, right Harold?

(Report Comment)
Harold Sutton September 9, 2011 | 9:44 a.m.

John, I get the impression that you like these "evil chemical weeds". So how often do you indulge?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 9, 2011 | 12:01 p.m.

Well Harold, you would be dead wrong (seems to be a trend, eh?) as I don't indulge in K2/K3 or even old-fashioned marijuana. I partake in the occasional beer or glass of wine and that's about it.

I'm of the mind that what someone consumes in their own house, whether it be natural or manmade, is none of my business as long as they aren't hurting anyone else or their property. The War on Some Drugs is a detriment to society by creating a black market where violence is used to protect profits and addiction is treated as a criminal rather than a medical issue.

(Report Comment)
Harold Sutton September 9, 2011 | 4:20 p.m.

Well, John, that is is your minority opinion which you are legally entitled to.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield September 9, 2011 | 5:11 p.m.

I'm fine with ending the War on Drugs if it means non-users aren't forced to pay for rehab, disabilities and the other side effects of addiction. With freedom (to do drugs) comes responsibility (not to do so much that you become a burden to society). Otherwise, it's highly likely that much or all of the anticipated savings from ending the War on Drugs will wind up being spent to treat addiction's consequences.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire September 9, 2011 | 5:44 p.m.

Yeah, except that in everywhere it is legalized it is found that less people use the drugs than before it was. However, I do believe that fake pot will be an exception because it isn't much good. I would be surprised if anybody is using fake pot next year.

(Report Comment)

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