Monday, September 12, 2011

All synthetic cannabinoids are now illegal in Missouri

A new law that went into effect Aug. 28 outlaws all chemical compounds used to create synthetic cannabinoids. These go by such names as K2, K3, Syn, Spice, Incense and Potpourri. Missouri outlawed five chemical compounds in 2010 – including those used to make K2, but dubious chemists slightly altered the chemical compounds to make alternate versions that fell outside the law. The new law encompasses the whole spectrum of these compounds, making all synthetic cannabinoids illegal.

Because they were not illegal for a short time, most people don’t realize how dangerous these chemicals are. Sergeant Tim Witcig of our Drug Enforcement Unit said most of the synthetic cannabinoid chemicals come to the U.S. in powder form from overseas, usually from China. It is completely unregulated. Dealers in the United States then mix it with a liquid like acetone or alcohol and spray it on plant material. Studies have shown these synthetic drugs can be up to 10 times stronger than marijuana and produce significant negative effects on the human body.

In Kansas City, a teen who smoked K2 on his way to school went into cardiac arrest immediately afterward. Were it not for quick-responding teachers, school resource officers and ambulance personnel, he would have died. Sergeant Witcig said those who use these synthetic drugs experience hallucinations that have caused them to carve their bodies up with knives and throw themselves out of moving vehicles into traffic.

Because of these dangers, legislators have banned the drugs, and KCPD is working hard to enforce that ban. The drugs once were available at convenience stores and coffee shops, but they should not be any longer. If you see a store selling these, report it to police. Sgt. Witcig said police are taking a three-pronged approach to enforcement:

1.) Monitoring retail outlets and those who sell synthetic cannabinoids
2.) Locating manufacturers and dismantling their operations
3.) Stopping shipments of the chemicals from overseas and domestically.

Send comments to