Oakland County and state officials are making strides to ensure that the drug commonly known as Spice or K2 can’t get into the hands of teens.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Sheriff Michael Bouchard announced on Friday, June 1 that the county will be providing decals to businesses that notify the county that they don’t or no longer will sell Spice/K2, a synthetic marijuana that has grabbed the attention of many in Oakland County and around Michigan in recent months.
A number of states have passed bans on Spice/K2 and its derivatives, and many others are considering legislation prohibiting the sale or possession of Spice/K2. In Michigan, the substance — in a very specific form — is technically illegal, but manufacturers get around the law by slightly modifying the product’s chemical structure.
“Instances of K2 leading to violence and in some cases death have captured headlines both locally and nationally. The time to act is now,” Patterson said. “Oakland County is going to make it easy for shoppers to identify the stores that don’t sell these dangerous synthetic drugs.”
Bouchard sounded a similar note.
“These substances are clearly dangerous and occasionally deadly,” Bouchard said. “Until we can get a law banning them, the best weapon to fight this is for consumers to refuse to frequent places that sell this trash.”
Retailers should call the Oakland County Health Division nurse on call at 800-848-5533 to receive a decal from the county.
In addition, state Rep. Gail Haines (R-Waterford, West Bloomfield) is spearheading a town hall meeting on the drug — which contains dried, shredded plant material and chemical additives that are responsible for psychoactive effects and mimic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana — on June 28 at the Waterford Kettering High School Performing Arts Center starting at 6:30 p.m.
Also at the town hall meeting will be state Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a former police officer who has sponsored Senate Bill 789, which “would create a mechanism for which a drug could be temporarily designated as a scheduled controlled substance,” a release from Haines’ office states.
“Designer drug abuse has become a serious issue in communities throughout our state,” said Haines, who co-sponsored identical legislation in the state House of Representatives, House Bill 5338. “This problem is not only limited to K2. Abuse of bath salts, drug sprays and other dangerous substances has been a major issue in Oakland County. Reducing accessibility to these items is crucial in the fight against this dangerous problem.”
State Reps. Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield, Commerce, Wolverine Lake), Eileen Kowall (R-White Lake, Highland), Bill Rogers (R-Milford), and Hugh Crawford (R-Walled Lake, Wixom) are all co-sponsors of HB 5338, as well.