A state legislative committee has signed off on the rules approved this summer banning a synthetic version of marijuana known as K-2 or Spice. The Iowa Board of Pharmacy voted in July to prohibit the sale or possession of the product following the death of an Indianola teenager.
The Board’s Executive Officer Terry Witkowski told lawmakers Tuesday that K-2 should no longer be available in Iowa malls or specialty shops. “We would certainly hope not. There’s been enough media coverage, law enforcement has been trying to identify this also, so I think there should be enough information out there to ensure everyone knows this should not be on the shelves,” Witkowski said.
K-2 was typically labeled as incense, but Witkowski says teenagers smoked the product to produce a high much stronger than marijuana. She says while the product is still sold online, Iowans caught buying or possessing K-2 can now face charges. Legislative action could mean even steeper fines and longer jail time.
Democratic Senator Tom Courtney of Burlington thanked the Iowa Board of Pharmacy for addressing the issue in the interim. “I just wonder…where we’ve gotten in this society when people are so bored and turned off with life that they’re taking incense and sucking it into their lungs,” Courtney said. “It’s just unbelievable. I’m glad you’ve done this, it’s nuts.”
The Iowa Department of Public Health recently launched a campaign to warn parents about the dangers of K-2. The campaign involves public service messages featuring the parents of 18-year-old David Rozga, a recent Indianola High School graduate who shot and killed himself following a K-2 induced panic attack.