“The public deserves to know about onerous substances like K2 and how they’re being used,” Coggs says.
Sen. Spencer Coggs announced today the formation of a state-led initiative to investigate and make recommendations about whether to ban or regulate the now-legal sale of synthetic marijuana, such as K2, in Wisconsin.
“The public deserves to know about onerous substances like K2 and how they’re being used. As a result, this working group came together,” said Sen. Spencer Coggs, chair of the Senate Urban Affairs Committee.
The working group that has been meeting includes Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, Rep. Tamara Grigsby, and the Milwaukee Reality Check Coalition, a community-based group fighting substance abuse in the city.
The substances, being legally sold under the brand names “K2,” “Cloud 9,” and “Spice” and marked as incense, are available in Milwaukee in some smoke shops, gas stations and convenience stores. Users purchase the substance because it produces a high similar to marijuana’s but is not detectable by conventional drug tests. There are no age restrictions for users to purchase the substance.
“In fact,” Coggs says, “in convenience stores it’s being sold by the candy section.”
This week the Milwaukee Common Council’s Public Safety Committee voted unanimously to recommend that the full council approve an ordinance that would ban the possession, sale and use of the substance in the city. “We appreciate the Council’s Public Safety Committee weighing in on this important issue. The working group will take a statewide look at the need to address this scourge through legislation and determine if it would be more feasible to ban or regulate synthetic marijuana,” Sen. Coggs said. The District Attorney will ask for assistance from the Department of Justice to verify the synthetic analog of K2 to see how it mimics THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, Coggs said. The District Attorney will also determine how DA’s in other jurisdictions address the problem.
“On the state level, I will be looking at how other states are getting a handle on this. Perhaps we can find some model legislation to use as a starting point for legislation here,” Sen. Coggs said. At least 10 states have banned the substance.