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.