LANSING —State Sen. Mike Nofs introduced legislation this week that would classify “synthetic cannabinoids” as Schedule 1 controlled substances.
These new, powerful substances which go by street names such as K2 and spice and genie, are currently unregulated and found in many "herbal incense" products sold at stores throughout Michigan. These substances can produce effects similar to those of marijuana or hashish, but have also been linked to much more serious side effects such as increased blood pressure, racing heartbeat and tremors, as well as an intense and extended period of withdrawal following use.
As a former law enforcement officer, Nofs has seen firsthand the consequences that can come from substance abuse.
“Many people, especially young kids, think that using marijuana or alcohol can’t hurt them. But I’m here to tell them otherwise,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “The effects can be serious and even life changing. It is my hope that by acting early we can prevent the spread of this latest health risk to the youth and citizens of our state.”
Suzanne Horsfall, executive director of the Substance Abuse Council, echoed Nofs’ concerns.
“It is alarming how easily accessible this ‘fake pot’ is to teens in our communities,” she said. “We want to keep kids and adults healthy and have been extremely concerned about K2 and similar products since they started appearing in the U.S. a year ago.”
Though they currently remain unregulated, synthetic cannabinoids were originally developed for experimental use in animals and cell cultures and have not been tested for long term effects on humans.