The Iowa Board of Pharmacy took action today to temporarily ban the sale of a synthetic marijuana that’s sold as incense. The substance is called “K2” or “Spice.”
Gary Kendell, Director of the Iowa Office on Drug Control Policy, has been pressing for a ban after K2 first surfaced in the state a few months ago. He says the Board of Pharmacy passed an emergency measure to classify K2 as a Schedule I or illegal drug. The action requires state legislators to also approve a ban on K-2 within 60 days of convening next session to make the ban permanent.
K2 is sold primarily in smoke shops and stores that sell incense. A warning on the package states it’s not for human consumption, but smoking K2 can produce a marijuana-like high. Kendell says it’s similar to a herb called Salvia that’s also sold in the stores. “We’ve been trying to make Salvia a Schedule I controlled substance for the last four sessions,” Kendell said. “They’re sold right next to each other in the display cases in these stores.”
Last month, an 18-year-old Indianola boy shot and killed himself after smoking K2. Kendell says K2 and Salvia can be fairly harmless for some users, but for others, they can result in hallucinations and seizures. “These substances can cause panic attacks, anxiety, all kinds of paranoia type things…it’s really a recipe for disaster,” Kendell said. The emergency ban on K2 takes effect Wednesday. Several other states have banned K2 and Salvia, as have some foreign countries.