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18 March 2010

Joe Smith: House Passes Bill Banning Dangerous Synthetic Similar to Marijuana

This week, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 1472. This bill seeks to add the compound found in K2, JWH-018, to the list of Schedule I controlled substances and make possession of it a class C felony.  Originally, JWH-018 was created to be used as a research tool at Clemson University by an undergraduate student, creating this synthetic compound to mimic the effects of marijuana and used by other scientists in the pharmaceutical industry.  This substance is at least three times stronger than naturally occurring THC.

Now, the compound has become widespread among teens and young adults.  They use it in an herbal mixture called K2 or "Spice", and when smoked and inhaled it mimics the high that one may receive from using marijuana.  The high from K2 has been said to produce effects ten times stronger than of marijuana, posing a much deeper threat to users.  For instance, after smoking K2, the user has been said to be unable to move for an hour.  There have also been burglaries reported in Missouri that were done for the sole purpose of stealing K2.  Those who smoke K2, or "Spice", ingest smoke laced with synthetic chemicals, not natural elements that the human lung is able to deal with.  In fact, there is a much more dangerous effect because the chemical goes right to the bloodstream.

This has been a world-wide problem as of recent.  Currently, Britain, Germany, Poland, France, South Korea and Russia have taken some form of action to ban the sale of synthetic cannabis.  In the United States, Kansas recently passed this ban out of the Kansas House of Representatives. Children and young adults in Missouri believe that since K2 is legal, it's safe.  As research shows, the chemical compound is not safe and can have damaging results.  We believe that by passing House Bill 1472, we can put parents at ease, and educate our citizens about the dangers surrounding K2.

Ensuring the safety and health of Missouri children is an important function of the legislature. I strongly believe that by taking the dangerous effects of this (drug) seriously, we are protecting our citizens and working to prevent them from harming themselves or others.

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