A variety of proposals which had failed to pass both the House and the Senate in the same form were tacked onto the huge bill House Republicans approved Wednesday. For the third time this year, the House voted to ban the use, distribution or sale of so-called “synethetic” marijuana, marketed under names like K2 and Spice.
Representative Tom Sands, a Republican from Wapello, says these are dangerous substances.
“The salvia and the bath salts and the K2 are hallucinogenic agents that (are) having a very, very, very serious effect on the mind-alteration of the people that use that,” Sands says. “There has been at least one death from the use of this in Iowa.”
An 18-year-old from Indianola committed suicide a year ago after smoking K-2. His parents have become outspoken advocates for both the ban and tough penalties for those who sell these synthetic substances. Representative Joel Fry, a Republican from Osceola, praised the parents of David Rozga for their presence at the statehouse earlier this year to push for passage of a statewide ban on the products.
“They have since been to Washington, D.C. and have met with Senator Grassley and they are looking forward to some national legislation on this same topic and have worked hard, from a national level, to get this to move forward,” Fry said Wednesday during House debate.
So-called “Synthetic” marijuana is usually sold in packets of incense or potpourri, for as much as $35 an ounce. It’s a blend of herbs coated with synethetic chemicals. The dispute between the House and Senate on this issue has been the penalty for selling these drug, as the House has favored making it a felony, while the Senate favors a lesser penalty.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in November issued a nationwide ban on this class of synthetic drugs for at least a year as federal officials consider adding the drugs to the list of “controlled substances” considered unsafe, highly abusive and without legitimate medical use. Bills also have been introduced in congress to ban the drugs nationwide.