Legislators Look to Stop Spread of Spice in Michigan

In light of recent news-making incidents, state representative is proposing that K2 — a synthetic form of marijuana known as Spice — be banned in Michigan.

The sale of synthetic marijuana — — has drawn much attention throughout the state of Michigan in recent weeks.

Many parents have expressed concern about . Most notably,, 19, of Farmington Hills is believed to have been high on synthetic marijuana in April when he attacked his family,.

Plymouth Police Chief Al Cox says there have been isolated incidents in Plymouth where people were found with the synthetic drug, but because it did not classify as K2 — which is illegal to possess or sell in Michigan — the department hasn't been able to file charges. He said the substance often is seized during searches following other offenses, such as drunken driving or suspended licenses.

"It's not truly K2," Cox said. While the substance looks and smells like K2, after the state banned K2 in 2010, many derivatives emerged with a slightly different chemical makeup and different names, he said.

And it's the chemicals, Cox said, that pose a real danger to those who use the synthetic drugs. With no ingredient list, and little history or testing done on the product, users – often teenagers, since there are no legal limits on who it can be sold to – don’t quite know what they’re smoking when they take a hit of Spice.

"It has a chemical that’s basically sprayed into it," Cox said. He said those he has spoken to who have tried it have reported being scared by the effects, which he said are more severe than marijuana and have more in common with psychoactive drugs such as LSD.

Group reports escalation in teen use of Spice

Spice use is a growing problem, says Sarah Parker, a program coordinator at the Plymouth-based Michigan Growth Works, which oversees juvenile probation cases in western Wayne County.

“It’s very concerning in terms of youth using it,” said Parker, who added that the problem has escalated within the past six months. “We don’t know what the long-term effects are.”

The substance currently is sold legally with a label indicating that it's not for human consumption, Cox said, and it is instead branded as an incense or potpourri.

This could change if new legislation passes, however.

New laws could limit spread of Spice

On Wednesday, Michigan state in the state of Michigan.

Rep. Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth) also has sponsored legislation to raise awareness of the substance.

House Bill 789, Heise said during a May 8 Plymouth-Canton school board meeting, would increase awareness of synthetic drugs as they hit the market.

"Nobody is immune to this," Heise said of the synthetic drug problem. He said the problem tends to affect wealthier districts and suburban areas.

Darany’s proposal comes after many of these communities have rallied to have the substances banned.

Facebook groups have been formed in , protests have been held in , and parents have teamed up in .

Cox said the substances are less visible in Plymouth after a local tobacco shop agreed to stop selling Spice as well as Salvia, another substance sold as incense but has psychadelic effects when smoked in the same manner as marijuana.

Other local officials are taking notice, too.

The . about the dangers of the drug. And in an editorial on Troy Patch.

What do you think? Should Spice be banned in Michigan?

Rep. Kurt Heise June 01, 2012 at 01:39 PM
The House Judiciary Committee will be holding a special hearing on Tuesday, June 5 to hear testimony on a variety of anti- K2 and Spice bills. The goal is to get these bills over to the Senate and passed by both chambers by the end of next week. Contact my office at kurtheise@house.mi.gov for updates. Thanks!
Mike June 01, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I don't believe that banning "Spice" will do much good. Simply read the article, what happened when the banned K2? Educating the communities about the risks of ingesting unknown substances may be a good start. At some point government just has to let people be stupid. Our laws need to adjust to the many ways people impair themselves. Making the erratic driving the crime instead of the alcohol, texting, weed, Spice etc. People must be responsible for their action whether or not they are under the influence of chemicals.
DownUpside1 June 01, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Mike says: At some point government just has to let people be stupid. Letting people make STUPID decisions has consequences for those who had nothing to do with said STUPID decisions. Just ask the Cipriano family.
John McKay (Editor) June 01, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Thanks, Mr. Heise!
Lauren Lucas June 01, 2012 at 05:38 PM
This needs to be banned, completely! Where do I sign????????
K. Sose June 01, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Maybe if Marijuana were legal there wouldn't be a market for this junk. Just a thought.
ElBeau June 03, 2012 at 02:40 PM
I agree. Since the legalization of Marijuana it's not as dangerous of a draw for kids and they'll look for other ways to get high. Look at the popularity of heroin and coke over the last few years since.


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