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Gabe's Gripes: Being adults about drugs



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June 13, 2012 - Even glancing at a newspaper from the last few days will tell you that a new drug called K2 is making headlines.

K2, or spice, is a synthetic marijuana product originally altered to circumvent the conventional weed laws and while K2 and spice have been made illegal, the name is now a genericized trademark for products that include synthetic marijuana.

When I first heard about K2, I thought everyone was talking about the ski company and seeing as people apparently are not using bath salts to get high, the idea is not too far from reality. The trick with this drug is while conventional marijuana is banned, the chemical makeup of the product allows it sell, in a package, at gas stations, party stores and more. The first few types were quickly banned as it mimicked the effects of weed pretty closely, but a new type has already surfaced, rendering the new law sterile already.

The dangerous part of this is that the more the drug is altered, the more harmful it becomes. The latest reports seem to indicate that people occasionally become physically violent when taking the drug, while others seem to experience seizures.

As a police beat reporter (among others!), I spend time with police agencies weekly, collecting the police reports and reading interesting stories about crime in the township. I also spend time with police officers and sheriff's deputies. I asked these law enforcement officials what they thought of the drug and how to deal with it. The answer was not what I expected, as most believe another law should be put in place.

I don't understand how this fix would work in place of what has already been proven ineffective. If the law is circumvented by changing a molecule, whats to stop developers of this drug from changing two or three?

The following is entirely speculation on my part and I do not smoke or enjoy marijuana at all.

The way I see it, this K2 stuff, is the best argument for legalizing marijuana that there has ever been. The reason this stuff is was created was not only to make money easier, but also to avoid the violence and the consequence. The violence is not only here - the drug trade has become a force of brutality just over the border in mexico, where drug agents battle cartels in what has been described as all out war. The consequences for selling are severe, but possessing weed is about as bad as a traffic violation, though it is fair to say repeated offenses can become increasingly drastic.

My point is that more than just "saving the children" is at stake here and the ironic part of it all is that now with synthetic marijuana become available, the "children" aren't even being protected anymore.

Simply put it goes like this: Law bans marijuana, but people find a way to sell it. Since it's illegal big bucks are involved and violence becomes more prevalent because of the stakes. People want in on those big bucks but want to avoid the violence, so they create a harmful product - unlike natural marijuana which really is no more harmful than a cigarette.

The one thing that could end the violence, the shady back room deals and take the wind out of a large section of the drug trade is making marijuana legal.

Laws only hinder illegal substances and some should remain illegal. But has the nation learned nothing from the alcohol prohibition? Banning a substance so widely used only leads to an increase in crime.

The final kicker is that the stuff is practically legal now, with only minor fines handed out for possession of the stuff and an easily obtainable medical marijuana card nullifying even that. Legalize, regulate and everyone wins from law enforcement to government to even the responsible user.

But that's just, like, my opinion man.

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