Theilen joins chorus calling for synthetic marijuana ban
State and local lawmakers across the country are passing laws to ban sale and possession of a synthetic form of marijuana known as K2.
Ward 8 Ald. Kris Theilen says Springfield needs to ban it, too — though Deputy Police Chief Clay Dowis said authorities have no indication the product is being abused in the capital city.
“A lot of our people were unaware of its existence,” he said.
Dowis said K2 can be purchased at two local businesses, which he declined to name.
K2 is a synthetic chemical sprayed on potpourri that is used for incense. It’s legal, but when smoked, the product reportedly mimics the effects of marijuana.
Dowis said the city is taking a “wait-and-see stance” to decide whether a local ordinance is needed. He noted that a bill pending in the state legislature would ban K2 statewide.
Theilen said he heard about K2 from a college roommate, Mike Adreon, who now works as a middle school teacher in St. Louis. It’s a problem down there, Theilen said, and statewide legislation is pending in Missouri.
Rep. Raymond Poe, R-Springfield, got a measure banning the substance through the Illinois House. The bill still waits for action in a Senate committee.
Under Poe’s proposal, House Bill 4578, possession of K2 would be a Class 4 felony carrying a possible penalty of one to three years in prison. Producing or delivering K2 would be a Class 3 felony punishable by two to five years in prison.
Poe said he filed the bill after hearing a news report on the drug and after 30 cases of adverse effects were reported at Saint Louis University. He said he wanted to get ahead of the issue before it became a problem in Illinois.
“We’ll keep pursing it until we can get it passed,” he said.
Theilen said the state law probably would supersede any ordinance the city council might pass. But he doesn’t know how long it would take for legislators to act, if they do at all.
“In the meantime, there is nothing out there preventing this,” Theilen said.
In February, Kansas became the first state to ban the substance. Lawmakers there made selling K2 a felony and possession a Class A misdemeanor.
By DEANA POOLE
THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER
Posted May 11, 2010 @ 12:49 AM
Last update May 11, 2010 @ 05:40 AM