Following many dangerous incidents, including an auto accident that severely injured a driver, along with others believed to be credited to K-2, the Sharp County Quorum Court took a proactive step in combating the problem by passing an ordinance at their May 9 meeting.
City Attorney Larry Kissee explained the issue with the chemically treatedcompound, that looks like potpourri and was supposedly created as incense. It is being widely used as a synthetic form of marijuana. He said the county began contacting surrounding agencies regarding the way they were addressing the issue, before drafting a ordinance for Sharp County.
K-2, Spice, Genie or Zohai are common brands the substance is sold under, including locally at a health food store in Highland. The compound has been shown to cause severe hallucinogenic reactions, unlike that of marijuana which creates a calming effect. The substance which is a lab created compound was made to mimic THC, the chemical in marijuana. Until May 9, the compound could be purchased very easily and its effects vary with weight, age and user. It has been shown to significantly impair users, with results in many cases much greater than the effects of THC.
Ordinance 2010-5 is defined as "An ordinance prohibiting the purchase, possession, sale, and offering for sale the synthetic cannaboid known as "Spice" or "K2." The ordinance states that although it is not yet categorized as an illegal controlled substance under either state or federal law that the usage of one of these marijuana substitutes, regardless of the name, poses a serious health threat. The ordinance goes on to define the chemical name of the substances included making it unlawful for anyone to, "possess, purchase, attempt to purchase, sell, publicly display for sale or attempt to sell, give or barter the substances. It further outlines the specified punishment and fines related to the offenses. The fine of not more than $1,000 will be imposed for a first offense violation of the ordinance and be found guilty of a misdemeanor and up to double the fine for each repeat offense.