Controversy Over Legal Herb K2 - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Controversy Over Legal Herb K2

The Graham City Council has taken the first steps toward banning a legal herb called k2 or spice. It's a response to what law enforcement is calling a real problem for youth in the area. The even bigger problem is how easy it is for kids to buy the product.

It's something that even has the attention of the DEA, not to mention police, city leaders and drug counselors. One of the biggest concerns about k2 is that it is so easy to buy and some think it can be easier than buying cigarettes. The difference is that k2 has such serious affects on the body and brain that it's already been banned in more than half a dozen states.

According to Tim Mills, the Executive Director of Turning Point NTCOSA located in Graham, the effects of k2 is seen throughout the community. "We had a mother whose son had used k2 and the son ended up having a severe anxiety attack. Ended up having to be looked at by paramedics."

Officer Jeff Hughes, Crime Prevention Specialist at the Wichita Falls Police Department echoes that sentiment saying k2 "is definitely something that parents do need to be aware of."

Mills continues to say that k2 has the same effects as marijuana and that is being sold in Texoma shops."This stuff is not safe, its not something that we can trust and if they know that people are doing it, they need to do something to interrupt that. Instead of just saying nothing. Cause that's why this is so widespread now because nothing was being said."

Although k2 is sold as a type of incense, it's also a popular drug, that gives people feelings of intense euphoria and high anxiety.

According to Officer Hughes, k2 is "something that the D.E.A is looking into. Looking at the dangers of k2, since it does mimic marijuana use and a lot of the symptoms that does come along with marijuana. This is absolutely something that can be deadly. It can cause serious injury, death."

Graham Mayor Barry White says that apparent k2 problem was a motivating factor in passing the first reading of the ban. "I have heard that some kids are trying it out and that's one of the reasons we've decided to do what we've done."

It seems like the action of the city of Graham happened just in time. It's easy to purchase k2 in some speciality stores and convenience stores for just $20.

Tim Miller says that the accessibility of this herb to young people in Texoma is the biggest concern. "People need to be careful, because if you don't say nothing, you may end up with a dead child on your hands."

Graham isn't the only city that's making changes; Duncanville, Plano, Frisco, Cleburne and Watauga  all adopted ordinances banning k2 in August. 

Mansfield prohibits the sale to anyone under 21 and Dallas is also discussing a ban. Republican State Senator Florence Shapiro of Plano is drafting a bill to enact a statewide ban when the legislature meets again in January 2011.

The Graham City Council unanimously passed the first reading of the proposed ban. Another two readings have to happen before the sale and consumption of k2 can be banned in the city.

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