Michigan has outlawed synthetic marijuana, the Grand Rapids Press reported Oct. 1.
Banned in parts of Europe, synthetic cannabinoids are sold as a mixture of spices and herbs under a variety of names, such as "K2," "Spice," and "Mr. Smiley." Users smoke the mixture in joints or pipes for a marijuana-like high.
Made primarily in China and Korea, the mixtures are sprayed with a synthetic compound similar to marijuana's psychoactive ingredient, THC. There had not been restrictions on their use in most of the United States until recently.
Although there is not a lot of research on K2, medical experts have been concerned by its link to increased heart rate, symptoms similar to schizophrenia, and to paralysis.
The Michigan law makes possession or use of K2 a misdemeanor.
The Drug-Free Coalition of Tippecanoe County is urging legislators to create and vote on a bill that would be similar to the law passed in Michigan. Currently Lafayette, West Lafayette and Tippecanoe County have all passed spice bans in the past few months. The ban encompasses the sale and possession of synthetic cannabinoids, commonly known as spice. The ban makes infractions a civil offense punishable by a fine of $250.