Topeka A Senate committee Wednesday quickly recommended approval of a bill to make illegal the allegedly high-inducing chemicals in a herbal mixture called K2.
The Public Health and Welfare Committee sent Senate Bill 348 to the full Senate after hearing testimony from numerous law enforcement officials, including Douglas County Sheriff Ken McGovern
“I see this new ‘legal’ drug as an epidemic that threatens the youth of the state of Kansas,” McGovern told the committee.
McGovern said the sheriff’s office has had several incidents involving K2 “within our facilities.”
He said the office confiscated two 3-gram packages of K2 and a pipe from an inmate who had his work release revoked. In addition, he said that a man showing up for his first court appearance became belligerent and said loudly “he was legal because it was K2, and offered to sell it to others around him.”
K2 is sold as an incense and has been popping up in stores in Lawrence and across the state.
Under the new bill, several synthetic chemicals that apparently mimic the high-inducing chemical of marijuana would be added to the state’s list of illegal drugs.
Kyle Smith, speaking on behalf of the Kansas Peace Officers’ Association and Topeka police department, said he feared K2 could have negative long-term side effects on young people who are attracted to the product.
“Kids will do stupid things, and we are trying to protect them,” Smith said.
Most of the committee voted for the bill, but state Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, said he was reluctant to support it without getting more information on the chemicals. “I don’t really see the harm yet,” Haley said.