Legislation that would essentially ban the sale of “synthetic marijuana” has cleared the U.S. House. The measure, cosponsored by Iowa Congressman Tom Latham, would make it illegal to possess or sell substances such as K-2. The drugs are often labeled as bath salts or incense and can be found in convenience stores or so-called “head shops.”
Latham, a Republican from Ames, credited a family from Indianola for bringing the issue to light. In July 2010, 18-year-old David Rozga shot himself after smoking K-2. “In response to the tragedy, David’s parents Mike and Jan have led a campaign to outlaw synthetic drugs like K2,” Latham said.
Mike Rozga testified before a U.S. Senate panel about the dangers of K-2 earlier this year. The drug can lead to serious illness, extreme paranoia and thoughts of suicide. Latham said K-2 continues to be a serious problem in Iowa, despite the publicity and efforts to remove designer drugs from store shelves.
“In Polk County, three teens were involved in a high speed crash after smoking one of these substances,” Latham stated on the House floor. “In central Iowa, a teenage boy was hospitalized after taking synthetic drugs and becoming violently ill, having seizures, vomiting and hallucinations.”
The Synthetic Drug Control Act was approved in the House on a 317 to 98 vote. Companion legislation awaits action by the U.S. Senate.