Research has linked naturally produced marijuana to health issues, including schizophrenia. With synthetic marijuana being even more potent, it is frightening to consider its potential damage.
Increasing numbers of children are purchasing synthetic marijuana products because they are legal and easier to obtain than cigarettes.
Let's face it: Anytime you consume an uncontrolled or unregulated drug or a drug with unknown effects, you are taking a risk. Products like K2 are not made in a controlled environment, and those who use it are playing Russian roulette.
The U.S. should move urgently to protect the public from yet another dangerous and potentially deadly class of drugs. [CNN]
Grant Smith of the Drug Policy Alliance says to take a deep breath and remember that prohibition never delivers on its promises:
When lawmakers consider regulating K2, they should keep in mind that the government has waged a futile war against marijuana and people who use the drug for decades.
Time and time again, elected officials have dropped the ball when it comes to regulating drugs. Lawmakers have preferred to lazily pass the responsibility of controlling a drug on to law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
The problem is, we know from marijuana prohibition that law enforcement has no control over the drug market and the criminals who run it. Criminalizing K2 will only worsen the devastating harm our society already suffers under drug prohibition. Rather than regulation of the supply and ingredients of K2, criminalization leaves the question of what goes into the product up to drug dealers.
Rather than passing regulations that bar K2 sales to minors, criminalizing K2 will essentially give dealers the green light to sell the product to whomever they please. [CNN]
Nice job, Grant. You win. Every valid concern that exists here is better resolved by regulation than prohibition. If you don't want young people buying it, you can pass age limits. If you're concerned about what's in it, you can require more accurate labeling. If you don't want it sold in certain areas, you can use zoning laws to establish appropriate locations. Or, if you'd prefer to have no control over it at all, you can ban it altogether and let criminals make all these decisions.
Pay attention, folks. The effort to ban synthetic marijuana products could be coming to your state before you know it and it's up to you to tell your legislators that regulation is the best approach. This fight could play out 50 different times and we'll win in more states if we start thinking about it now.