The Post-Dispatch reports today
that Missouri's recently enacted ban on synthetic marijuana (marketed as K2
, Spice and a dozen other brand names) is about as effective as, well, the law that prohibits people from smoking real marijuana.
The scribes at the local daily write that, "even police acknowledge that the [K2] laws are all but meaningless because merchants can so easily offer legal alternatives." Those alternatives are products like K3 and Maui Hybrid which first appeared in Kansas way back in March
They also tracked down the inventor of the active chemical in K2 -- Clemson University chemistry professor John Huffman -- who points out that that police crime labs probably don't even have the technology necessary to detect the illegal ingredients in fake dope.
The article was timed impeccably with the release of the FBI's Unified Crime Report
, which found that marijuana use among Americans increased eight percent last year and that marijuana arrests accounted for almost half of all U.S. drug arrests in 2009.
Here's how conservative policymakers are responding to the statistics:
Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, called the 9 percent increase in drug use disappointing but said he was not surprised given "eroding attitudes" about the perception of harm from illegal drugs and the growing number of states approving medicinal marijuana.
"I think all of the attention and the focus of calling marijuana medicine has sent the absolute wrong message to our young people," Kerlikowske said in an interview.
And here is how state senator Kurt Schaefer
, the Republican from Columbia who sponsored the K2 law, responded to the news that the measure is utterly impotent:
[Schaefer] acknowledges that the marketplace has quickly adapted to his state's ban. He also firmly believes that the new law, along with a wave of media reports, is an effective deterrent, especially for potential users under 18, and their parents.
"We've at least minimized the threat to public safety," he said.
Schaefer is also reportedly considering proposing a broader ban against fake pot next year.