Federal and state authorities are decrying a new — and entirely legal — hallucinogen called "K2" that's causing disturbing side effects among its mostly teenage users. Sold online and in head shops as "legal synthetic pot," the mysterious herb-blend (coated with a manmade chemical similar to THC) delivers an intense high and mild hallucinations, but — warn doctors — can also cause "severe agitation," elevated heart rate, and seizures. Kansas and Missouri are already moving to outlaw K2, but — as more states legalize medical marijuana — does it make sense for governments to spend money banning a pot substitute? (Watch a report about K2, the substitute for marijuana)
It's irresponsible not to ban K2: Synthetic marijuana is far more potentially damaging than real cannabis, says Calvina Fay in CNN.com, and yet this product that can trigger "loss of consciousness" or "psychotic episodes," is easier for kids to obtain than cigarettes. Lawmakers need to act quickly and decisively.
"'K2' poses dangers and should be illegal"
Illegalizing synthetic pot will backfire: We've tried banning all kinds of mind-altering substances, says former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper in The American Prospect, yet the illegal-drug industry rakes in $400 billion a year, and marijuana and other narcotics are available everywhere. Outlawing K2 won't get rid of it — it will just give violent drug dealers another product to sell.
"The fake weed fight"
Both sides of the drug war should focus on bigger battles: When I smoked K2, says Peter Rugg in The Pitch, "I had a great time." That said, the effects were "minor" and "short-lived"; I find alcohol more mind-altering. Frankly, it would be a waste of time and energy for the government to bother banning it — or for pot advocates to bother lobbying to keep it legal.
"Product review: Will K2 synthetic marijuana get you high?"