Senate panel moves Nofs bill to regulate synthetic marijuana

LANSING —Legislation to classify “synthetic cannabinoids,” with street names such as K2, Genie and Spice, as Schedule I controlled substances was approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee today, said Sen. Mike Nofs.

Nofs and Suzanne Horsfall, executive director of the Substance Abuse Council of Calhoun County, testified in support of Senate Bill 1373.

“K2 is an immediate, dangerous trend,” said Horsfall. “People have been sickened by the substance in 35 states already. If this trend grows and K2 continues to be legal in our state, the Substance Abuse Council believes its use will continue to spread and its perception as a form of ‘legal high’ will widen. I ask for your help in preventing more negative consequences of substance use and abuse by approving this bill.”

As a career law enforcement officer, Nofs understands the potential dangers that these substances present.

“K2 and similar herbal incenses contain THC-like compounds that are 100 to 800 times more potent than marijuana,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “These are not substances with positive attributes for our youth, our families or our state. By acting early and classifying these cannabinoids we can help prevent the spread of this latest health risk.”

Synthetic marijuana products are currently unregulated and sold at stores throughout Michigan. When taken, users experience a similar “high” as real marijuana and are undetectable in drug tests. However, there is no data on the drug’s toxicity or how long it stays in the body. In mice, it can lead to a lower body temperature, partial paralysis and the temporary inability to feel pain, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.

Senate Bill 1373 goes to the full Senate for further consideration.


Editor’s note: a photo of today’s committee hearing can be viewed by clicking here.

Nofs supports resolution to rescind EPA dairy ruling

LANSING―The Michigan Senate today adopted a resolution, co-sponsored by Sen. Mike Nofs, that urges the Environmental Protection Agency to rescind a recent ruling that will create unnecessary regulatory burdens and additional costs for dairy farmers.

The agency has classified milk as an oil, making it subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act. As a result, small and large dairy farms would be required to develop and implement oil spill prevention plans for milk storage tanks, similar to those required for large petroleum storage tanks. Senate Resolution 158 urges the EPA to rescind those rules that would require dairy farms to have such plans.

“The recent EPA ruling is ridiculous, and is yet another example of unnecessary government regulation,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “Agriculture is a primary part of our state’s economy and these rules will needlessly cost our farmers time and money when they can least afford it. We in the state Senate stand together with Michigan dairy farmers and demand those in Washington, D.C. rescind this ill-conceived ruling.”

According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, dairy is the leading segment of Michigan’s agricultural industry, providing a $5.1 billion impact on the state’s economy.

During previous testimony before a Senate panel, dairy farmers indicated Michigan already has regulations in place for anyone who would directly discharge milk into the ground, rendering the EPA ruling unnecessary.

Senate adopts Nofs’ resolution designating July as Michigan Craft Beer Month

The Michigan Senate on Tuesday recognized July 2010 as Craft Beer Month in Michigan, said state Sen. Mike Nofs.

Senate Resolution 164, which passed unanimously, celebrates the contributions that Michigan’s craft beer industry has made to the state’s economy, its communities and history.

“The craft beer industry is one of the bright spots in our economy,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “It has seen double-digit growth over the past two years, despite the overall economic downturn. Our brewers employ thousands of residents, and support the state’s agriculture, restaurant and tourism industries. It has also taken the lead in promoting the safe, responsible use of its products.”

Joining Nofs for the occasion were representatives from the Michigan Brewers’ Guild, including President Eric Briggman from Rochester Mills Beer Co., and Tim Surprise, president of the Battle Creek-based Arcadia Brewing Co.

Surprise thanked the Senate for the honor.

“Michigan brewers are producing nationally and internationally recognized beers, as well as jobs and investment in our local communities,” said Surprise. “We appreciate Sen. Nofs’ support and advocacy for our industry.”

More than 100 types of beer are brewed here, many of them award winning, making Michigan one of the top beer producing states in the nation.

SR 164 can be read in its entirety by clicking this link.

Nofs Introduces Bill to Regulate “Synthetic Marijuana”

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.