Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spice: A New Dangerous Drug? Should It Be Illegal?

Spice, also called K2 and referred to as "synthetic marijuana" and "herbal incense" has caught the attention of Councilmember Phil Mendelson, who wants to make K2 illegal, TBD reports.  K2, which can be purchased at head shops in the District and on the Internet gives users a high that's similar to cannabis. But K2 is not marijuana; it's entirely synthetic.

K2 is potentially dangerous: As a new drug, both its short term and long term effects are mostly unknown. Dr. John Huffman, the organic chemist who discovered the method for creating this synthetic compound, put it this way when asked about people who are smoking his discovery: "People who use it are idiots." Below is a report on Spice from MDP Detective John Paprcka on the Cleveland Park Listserv.

And people are using it. A lot. One DC head shop owner says that on some Fridays his two stores net $10,000 in sales of Spice, reports The Washington Post.

Should Spice be made illegal in the District of Columbia, as it has in other jurisdictions and much of Europe?  Will a ban be effective as long as Spice can be purchased on the Internet? Would a better solution be to make marijuana legal, thereby reducing the demand for K2? Perhaps this new drug, Spice, will invigorate the conversation over new ways to deal with illegal drugs, especially marijuana. The door's partially opened already with the advent of medical marijuana, and may be swinging fully open, at least in California, if the proposition to legalize marijuana passes on November 2. It's long been the mantra that it's political suicide for politicians to vote to legalize marijuana.

Parents Beware synthetic and Legal Cannabis
My name is John Paprcka and I am a Metropolitan Police Detective assigned to the Second District. My primary area of investigation are burglaries and through the years I have interviewed many criminals who support an expensive drug habit and committed crimes ranging from shoplifting, breaking into cars and burglary in order to accomplish this.
I mention this as I recently became involved in an investigation involving a 16 year old who is out of control. His parents are extremely involved and trying their hardest to direct their son in the right direction, however, he continues to act like a drug addict. He was arrested for breaking into cars and probably broke into many other vehicles based on my information and experience. Why? To support his habit.
Unfortunately, his habit is not illegal in the District of Columbia and up until last week many members of the police department, including myself, were not aware of the drug.
He is addicted to a product containing JWH-018, marketed as an incense named Spice and K2 to name a few. This product is available in stores in DC, online and is being sold for approximately 30-40 dollars for several grams. Expensive incense I'd say and a good reason for a kid to commit crimes to support his vice. The product is being banned in several States throughout the United States and a significant portion of Europe.
With the assistance of the teen's mother, we examined his cell phone and viewed multiple pictures of him and his friends smoking the product out of pipes and treating it just like marijuana. We also viewed his text messaging and the discussions equaled conversations I have seen involving drug deals. School kids texting while at school and putting orders in to buy Spice and talking about getting high-on a legal incense called Spice.
I am writing this post for two reasons. First and foremost is to make everyone aware of this by getting the word out.
Since last week I have been speaking with some kids and the product is in the schools, both public and private. I've also been familiarizing myself with the product by searching it on google and if you have teens, I strongly suggest you do the same. I have posted one link to a newspaper below, which is pretty comprehensive but there are many articles discussing the drug and it is a drug listed on the Federal Registry. One last note on the research is that urine does not test positive for it, so people on probation or employees of WMATA, the police and employers who routinely test their employees will evade a positive test.
Search google with; synthetic cannabis, K2 drug, Spice, and JWH-018. For more information: http://bit.ly/coMGR7 .
The other reason is for the public to contact their councilperson and demand a law banning this drug. I know we are all busy, but a simple phone call or email could be very helpful. Feel free to copy this and send it to friends and family. The higher ranks of the Police Department are aware of this as well as the United State's Attorney's Office and are both taking steps accordingly, but public input may move things faster.


  1. I LOVE the inventor's words,"People who use it are idiots." Very to the point. I got a smile out of it.

  2. Legislation in DC has progressed and it appears it is going to be illegal.....