K2 protests and possible local ban

A new product is being sold in local convenience stores.

First, some background.

The product is sold as an over-the-counter “incense”.  It does not require a license to sell, nor is it regulated or against the law. It mimics the effects of marijuana, yet unlike marijuana, it’s use is hard to detect. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the substance in marijuana that produces the high in those in ingest it. THC sticks around in your body’s fat cells and takes up to 30 days to dissipate. THC is easily detectable in urine with the proper tests which have been around for years. Work is progressing on developing tests to detect usage, but they are still in the future.

From Drug Free Sport’s newsletter, Insight:

[…] The ingredients listed on a package of K2 incense are all herbs. What isn’t listed are compounds known as JWH-018 and JWH-073, and therein lies the danger. These compounds give K2 its mind-altering affect. JWH-018 and JWH-073 are synthetic cannabinoids that mimic the effects of marijuana but are so far not detected in routine urine testing. Users like the idea of getting the high of marijuana without being in danger of prosecution for drug use.

The compounds carry the initials of their developer, John W. Huffman, an organic chemist at Clemson University in South Carolina who developed them during a research project in the 1990s relating to the effects of marijuana on areas of the brain. He published his findings in a scientific journal, including the formula for JWH-018 in 2005.

[…] The state of Kansas became the first to outlaw K2 with legislation signed by the governor in early March. Neither K2 nor its ingredients are currently controlled substances in any other state or federal jurisdiction, so use of the drug is not illegal outside of the state of Kansas. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is monitoring JWH-018 and JWH-073 and has listed them as drugs and chemicals of concern. The Missouri legislature is expected to consider a bill in its 2010 session.

“The problem is the JWH compounds. They multiply the negative effects of marijuana three to five times. Symptoms include a racing heart, skyrocketing blood pressure and high anxiety,” Morris said. “They think their heart will explode. Clearly this is not something to fool around with.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is monitoring K2 but their process for adding a substance to the schedule of controlled substances is a long process unless done on an emergency basis.

[…] The DEA’s report about JWH-018 states that behavioral pharmacology studies show that it decreases overall activity, produces analgesia, decreases body temperature and produces catalepsy in mice. Scientists predict that it has a THC-like effect on humans but there are no published excretion studies in humans. Its toxicity is not known because so few reports are available.

S.A.V.E. Fort Wayne, a local group led by Sheila Curry Campbell, has been protesting local convenience stores selling K2. I caught up with her at a protest at the Stop-n-Shop on Hessen Cassel. We talked about how locations of the protests are decided, the fact that this one was near a popular youth center and the possibility of Allen County’s first K2-related death.


Fort Wayne City Councilmen Mitch Harper and Tom Didier have introduced an ordinance making the sale and possession of ‘Synthetic Cannabinoid’ with fines set respectively at $2,500 and $1,000. The ordinance has not been discussed in Committee, but is expected to be in a couple of weeks.

Vote your opinion on whether or not K2 should be banned in Fort Wayne by voting to the right of this article.

An interesting item I’d like to point out – if you’re looking at this on the AroundFortWayne website, you might check out the google ads which will confirm the easy availability of K2.  I am working on a solution to eliminating the K2 ads.

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