Often mischaracterized as synthetic cannabis, the effects of a newer drug called spice or K2 bears little resemblance to actual marijuana. Spice was first introduced a few years ago as a legal version of marijuana, since the actual chemical components of the substance were not technically illegal at the time. With chemists across the world racing to develop new compounds capable of sneaking under legal radar, spice was sold in gas stations, tobacco shops and stores where drug paraphernalia can be purchased.
What is spice?
While plant material may be present, spice packaging’s frequent claims that its contents are all natural are patently false. The primary active ingredients in the drug are chemically synthesized compounds that have been outlawed by state and federal law. Undeterred, spice manufacturers continue to substitute other ingredients to try to avoid prosecution, while the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continues to designate active chemicals as illegal Schedule I controlled substances.
What are spice’s side effects?
Popular primarily among high school and college-aged users, spice may produce feelings of relaxation and altered perception when smoked or imbibed as a tea. Without question, spice is not all fun and games, as users also report psychotic effects, paranoia and extreme anxiety. Spice’s other less desirable effects include heart attacks, psychosis and kidney damage. Because of its recent vintage, however, the long-term effects of the drug remain unknown.
What are the penalties for involvement with spice?
During the past year, Florida passed into law an anti-spice measure that bans 27 compounds as controlled substances. The law makes it a third-degree felony for individuals to do any of the following with regard to these compounds:
Deliver or possess them with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver them
The law appears not to have slowed down businesses in certain regions of the state that continue to be caught vending the substances. In one of the latest busts, drugs with a street value of more than $400,000 were seized, sending 11 people into custody on various charges.