The Iowa House has passed a bill that seeks to keep new variations of “synthetic marijuana” out of the marketplace. Representative Joel Fry, a Republican from Osceola, says two Des Moines teenagers got into trouble this week after taking the product.
“This legislation is no more paramount and important right now today than the fact that these students were in the emergency room yesterday due to these synthetics,” Fry says.
Last year legislators voted to ban the sale of products marketed under names like “K-2” and “Spice” but Fry says manufacturers have found new chemical combinations that cause the same effects as a marijuana “high” — including hallucinations.
“What this bill does is it takes the compounds that those manufacturers have chosen to try and skirt around our law we created last year and adds those compounds, plus many more…and it makes those compounds a schedule I controlled substance,” Fry says. That designation means it cannot be sold in stores.
The bill passed the House on an 86-0 vote. Experts say these “synthetic marijuana” products can cause hallucinations and violent behavior. An Indianola teenager committed suicide in 2010 after using K-2 and the Iowa legislature passed a law banning the sale or possession of products like K-2, Spice, “bath salts” and Salvia.
It’s unclear whether this bill will pass a senate committee by the end of the week, clearing a deadline for action on policy-related bills to remain eligible for consideration. The bill would make possession, sale or manufacture of these newest varieties of synthetic drugs an aggravated misdemeanor.