Leading a charge that could become a nationwide movement, the Georgia Senate on Wednesday unanimously voted to ban the use and sale of synthetic marijuana.
Known commonly as K2 or Spice, the product was recently banned in by lawmakers in Kansas and the town council of St. Charles, Missouri recently passed emergency legislation banning its sale.
If approved by the Georgia House of Representative, the bill, SB 498, would make the sale of K2 illegal. It would be add to the Schedule 1 list of Georgia ’s controlled substances along with heroin and meth.
Use or sale of drugs on that list carries the most severe penalties. The product is currently legal and widely available in Georgia.
“Georgia citizens need to be protected from products that may cause irreversible harm to their bodies,” said the bill’s key sponsor Sen. Ed Harbison of Columbus. “Teens assume these drugs are harmless because they are so easily accessible. These drugs, however, are so dangerous it’s sending our young people to the emergency room.”
Harbison said he was motivated to draft the K2 legislation after hearing about a group of Atlanta area teens that were hospitalized after using it.
K2 is an herbal smoking blend made of herbs and spices sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids, the compound found in marijuana. The synthetics mimic the effects of marijuana and can be consumed in similar ways.
“These drugs are not harmless recreational substances, but actually potent concoctions of harmful materials that can cause a variety of problems,” Harbison said. “The manufacturers for these products do not put the ingredients on packaging, and do not have to follow any type of regulated standards.”