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Prohibition: Kansas Politician Hears of New Drug, Responds with Plan to Ban It

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #609)

An herbal preparation containing synthetic cannabinoids has show up in Kansas, and a prohibitionist Kansas politician has a reflex response: Ban it. The preparation, sold under the name K-2 is available over the Internet and at selected shops in the Kansas City and Lawrence areas.

K-2 is one of a number of compounds that have appeared on the market in the past couple of years containing synthetic cannabinoids. Another popular compound containing the synthetic cannabinoids is sold under the name Spice. According to Clemson University chemistry professor John Huffman, at least one of those synthetic cannabinoids, JWH-018, was created by one of his graduate students doing pharmaceutical research.

Who manufactures K-2, Spice, and similar products is unclear, as is where they are coming from.

Spice has already been banned by a number of European countries, including Britain, France, Germany, Poland, and Russia, as well as South Korea. While Spice, K-2, and other products containing synthetic cannabinoids are not listed as controlled substances in the US, there is some debate about whether they fall under the Controlled Substances Act's provisions banning analogues of controlled substances.

Kansas state Rep. Peggy Mast (R-Emporia) had never heard of K-2 before being approached by a local newspaper reporting on the phenomenon last week, but that didn't stop here from being ready to criminalize it. "I would be very happy to sponsor a bill to make this illegal," she said.

In an interview this week, Mast elaborated. Little is known about K-2, she said. It's dangerous, she added, without explaining how she knows it is dangerous given that little is known about it. "And that makes it potentially dangerous," said Mast. "I'm really concerned about the effect it can have on young people."

If there's one thing Mast does know, it's what to do when confronted with a substance about which you know little: Ban it. Mast sponsored successful legislation to do just that with jimson weed and salvia divinorum a few years ago. "I don't think the public should have ready access to anything that has not been studied," Mast said.

But until Mast gets around to introducing and passing a bill, K-2 remains legal in Kansas. And places like Sacred Journeys in Lawrence are selling it.

"A lot of people get a marijuana-like buzz when you smoke it, and that seems to be why a lot of people are afraid of it and attack it," said Rob Bussinger, a consultant at Sacred Journey. "We have teachers that come in and buy it, we have police officers that come in and buy it, military people who buy it," said Bussinger.

For chemist Huffman, banning new substances is a futile pursuit. "You ban one and they'll come up with another," he said.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Jean Boyd (not verified)

When will people like Rep. Peggy Mast get it. I am so tired of these reactions that take little or no use of one's brain. Just go along with the program and do not think. Can you not see, Peg, that what you are doing by banning this spice or K-2 is only encouraging real people to come up with something else that we can say is legal. As chemist Huffman states, "You ban one and they'll come up with another." Go home and think about it. I've been seeing it for 40 years and you can't see what is in front of you.

Fri, 11/20/2009 - 3:47pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Jean Boyd (not verified)

WOW nothing better to do? that should be the last thing to worry about. kansas must be a magical oasis when crime and poverty have been washed away! now we can concentrate on this k-2 product! I bet k3 could hit the shelves in less then a week. then your gonna have to start the process all over. sigh.

Wed, 11/25/2009 - 8:40pm Permalink
Right Reverend… (not verified)

Your comments in this section can be copied to:

Peggy Mast
Kansas House Republican
District 76 (District Map,District Demographics)
First Term: 1997
Assistant Majority Leader


765 Road 110
Emporia 66801
Phone: 620-343-2465
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 620-343-1559

Business Information
Occupation: Office Manager
[email protected]

Spouse: John

Capitol Office
Room: DSOB
Phone: 785-296-7685
Email: [email protected]

Committee Membership
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Room: 143-N
Health and Human Services
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Room: DSOB 784
Chair, Social Services Budget
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Room: DSOB 786
Calendar and Printing
Time: On Call
Interstate Cooperation
Time: On Call
Legislative Budget
Time: On Call
Joint Committee on Health Policy Oversight
Time: On Call
Joint Committee on Legislative Post Audit
Time: On Call
Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services Oversight
Time: On Call

Fri, 11/20/2009 - 3:52pm Permalink
Jean Boyd (not verified)

Right Reverend Davis. I wanted to say it to her. I am on it now.

Fri, 11/20/2009 - 5:23pm Permalink
Jean Boyd (not verified)

jean boyd wrote:

The following is a comment posted at Drug Policy The drug policy has posted an article about you and your views and recent actions in Kansas. Check it out. People all over the world will comment about how you want to lock people up for taking drugs. Man, you gotta get your way at the expense of everyone else.
Please understand that I merely speak for myself, I am only a member of DPA. Some people think way worse of you for your bad choices. I am only asking you to think. You will never be remembered by your bad actions. The world remembers people who stand up for what is right. Most people who stand up for truth reap the rewards. Worth way more than your paycheck. And you will still get the paycheck.

Rep. Peggy Mast wrote:

Thanks Jean,

You have made a very good point. It seems odd that you accuse me of bad actions because I want to keep kids from becoming future addicts. I guess it just depends on where you are seated. I had the opportunity of watching a beautiful young woman die a paranoid death because of meth. I had the opportunity of talking to a young girl who's cousin was being brought up on capitol murder charges for shooting and killing a friend and cousin of his who happened to be a sheriff because he made the mistake of coming at the wrong time when Scott was too high on drugs. She was trying to get me to keep her cousin Scott from death row.

It is funny to me that I am a bad person because I care about people and these kind of thing bother me, but you are right. There will always be those very smart people who can make a quick buck and get kids addicted for life. They beat the system and they think the rest of us are evil. You go Jean. Hope you live a long and happy life. I have had some users of K2 communicating with me. They are honest to me about their lives. I like them. I don't want them locked up. I understand what they are going through and appreciate getting to know them. They, unlike you, are not judging me anymore than I am judging them. They also understand that I care. I'm not looking for glory or a paycheck. If I wanted fast easy money, I could be a pusher. The difference is - I have a conscience.



Sat, 11/21/2009 - 2:59pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Jean Boyd (not verified)

Dear Rep. Peggy Mast,
The war on drugs and prohibition enables the underground drug market. We are in the mess we are in because you and other "concerned" leaders making decisions based on the heart and what they think their constituency is going to think of them. Please consider something else- I am all for 100% legalization (of pretty much least enough of it to collapse the drug trade). Please bear with me and keep reading. If you legalize and tax, you take money out of the hands of terrorists and criminals and ultimately it ends up in pharmaceuticals and US/State taxes instead of going to them. The other major benefit is that the drug trade routes will "collapse". Lots of people in drug trade will have to go get a job (and pay taxes). Because of the current drug policy, pretty much any 12yr old can get crank(meth), marijuana, etc within a couple of days....easily. That is true inner city or most rural area's. Make it all legal for 21 and older, and then make looooooonnnnger mandatory sentencing law's for individuals that contribute to minor's. Then you will be keeping drugs out of the hands of most 12-20 yr olds. I think that if you give them the time to grow up a bit, then they will make more responsible decisions. Most binge drinking and other bad drug use starts before their 21, if you give them a chance to focus on education, then you have a much greater chance to lower drug use in the longer run. We are so "now" focused, that we cant give up on the failed policies of the past and take a different road. The War on Drugs prohibition style policies are only going to change the usage stats by a % or two hear and there. Lets go for real change. You can use a large portion of the tax revenue created by a system like this to institute a good drug rehab system that people could go to voluntarily, or be sent to based on specific standards. Also, in a system like this, I am sure someone could figure out a way to connect the dots between some sort of drug usage database and illnesses associated with specific use- which right now is only guess work, because people do not admit that they have or are currently using drugs when they go to see a doctor. When you publish that type of data that show's the stat's for a given drug, you will have the data to persuade people to do the right thing for themselves and their families. I am tired of paying to jail/house people for anything that is not a direct crime against "someone/something" just ticket offenses (poor use of tax dollars). Along with that, I wonder how much real crime like rape, pedophiles, murder, etc could be monitored or focused on if our society wasn't so focused on prohibition. I am embarrassed by these policies that throw people right in penal system (court room or jails) rather than offering a way of drug rehab services.
Putting users in jail does not help them. And coming from experience with family on probation for drug one in the family will call the probation officer when they have knowledge that their screwing up, they will just wait for the problem to get bad enough for someone to catch them. That type of system suck's. You need a drug rehab and family/friends working together to pull someone out of a history with drugs. Not a probation officer and more jail time. That doesn't work.

Anyway, thanks for listening.
God Bless!

Sun, 11/22/2009 - 3:08am Permalink
Jean Boyd (not verified)

I wish to thank you for returning my email to you.
I heard you say that I think you are bad. No, I do not think that. I simply said that you are making bad choices.
You said that you do not wish to put people in prisons, however, the policy you are condoning is doing just that.

We are in PROHIBITION. Ending prohibition is the answer. We at Drug Policy are teachers, students, cops, addicts, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, lawyers, doctors and human beings who believe that current policies are damaging and actually causing the deaths and overdoses you speak of.

I am offering you some light on this issue that involves every aspect of life in the US. The US affects every country in the world.

I am asking you to please just look at what we are saying and doing at Drug Policy Alliance. You can reach Drug Policy on the computer. Most of us thought as you do at some point, until it took a great awakening, many times a horrible event to get us to wake up. Look at L.E.A.P. These guys were cops and now even they are saying the WAR ON DRUGS is a vast mistake. If a cop can turn around anyone can.

Jean L. Boyd

Mon, 11/23/2009 - 3:10pm Permalink
Lena (not verified)

How in the hell can a person bid to make something illegal when she knows so little about it? Word of mouth is crap. Has she ever tried K2, or marijauna which K2 is made to mimic? I highly freakin doubt it. It's really unfair to people LIKE ME who are 100 percent responsible people, who have regular everyday jobs and ambition and motivation like anyone else. Here's something: I suffer from major depressive disorder and I'll tell you I hate taking pills to function; they make me physically ill, or too tired to move, or jittery. I wish there was a natural aternative...oh wait, THERE IS! Too bad it's considered "substance abuse." How much sense does that make, Peggy? I'd rather be able to sit down and relax on a weekend with a bowl of weed (or K2) and destress and be comfortable in my home than wake up every morning and pop a pill that's going to possibly make me have suicidal thoughts and, at the very least, severe night sweats and irritability. Listen, I'm not a pusher and I don't have the aspiration to go out and do a bunch of meth or crack or heroin or any of that other synthetic, man-made CRAP. Kansas is the most assholey state in the U.S. and I'm seriously considering moving so that I may get the treatment I need and deserve in a state that realizes the use of natural medications such as marijauna.

Thu, 01/21/2010 - 2:22pm Permalink

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