Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson signed into law Tuesday HB 2411, which adds certain synthetic cannabinoids to the state's list of controlled substances. The bill is aimed directly at products containing a mixture of herbs and a synthetic cannabinoid, JWH-018, which was isolated by a Clemson University researcher more than a decade ago. The products are sold under a variety of names, including Spice and K2.
Users report a marijuana-like high from the blends. Although there have been some isolated reports of adverse reactions, the number appears relatively small compared to the reported massive sales of the blends.
Under the new law, which goes into effect upon publication in the state register later this month, possession of K2 becomes a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2500 fine. That's the same potential punishment as awaits someone busted for small-time marijuana possession in the Jayhawk State.
"This legislation has received overwhelming support by Kansas law enforcement and the legislature," said Parkinson in a signing statement. "It will help improve our communities by bettering equipping law enforcement officers in addressing this issue and deterring Kansans from drug use."
The governor is certainly correct about who supported the bill. Testifying for it were representatives of the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association, the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police, the Kansas Sheriffs Association, the Kansas Peace Officers Association, and the Kansas Board of Pharmacy.