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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Synthetic pot not a big problem in Southeast Kansas

  • Recently in Carthage, officers made a raid of about 220 packets of K2, a synthetic cannabinoid similar to marijuana. Across the border in southeast Kansas, local officials say there is no such problem with the drug.
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  • Recently in Carthage, officers made a raid of about 220 packets of K2, a synthetic cannabinoid similar to marijuana. Across the border in southeast Kansas, local officials say there is no such problem with the drug.
    "We really haven't seen much of it at all," said Crawford County Sheriff Sandy Horton.
    "Here, we haven't seen a huge impact," said Lt. Cris Hatcher, Pittsburg Police Department.
    For whatever reason, the problem of synthetic marijuana, aka K2 or "potpourri," has not been an issue in Crawford County.
    Horton attributes the success at eliminating K2 from the area to state legislators, who became the first state in the nation to pass legislation making the substance an illegal substance. The law, HB 2411, was passed in early 2010 and has been in effect for close to a year and a half.
    "Legislation was passed, because out of the Johnson County area they were starting to see some problems. They got on board with the legislature and passed laws making it an illegal substance, taking it off the shelves," Horton said.
    Even before the legislation, Hatcher said he'd only seen one or two instances of K2 use causing problems in Pittsburg. Since the law went into effect, it's been virtually nonexistent in the area.
    "We're lucky the Legislature was on board right off the gate," Hatcher said. "Originally, you could go to any convenience store in the Four States and buy it over the counter. That led to problems. We were able to get statutes in place before it was a problem. That's the biggest key to success."
    The law on the books makes some of the active compounds in K2, JWH-018 and JWH-073, a Schedule I drug in the state. It is now a felony to sell such drugs, and it is a Class A misdemeanor to even have such drugs. The DEA has also outlawed five other compounds often found in K2.
    Earlier this month, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation made raids in several cities (Emporia, El Dorado, Arkansas City and Wichita) in connection with the production of synthetic marijuana.
    But in Crawford County and Southeast Kansas, the problem is either nonexistent or underground. Horton said he thought there had only been one case in the county in the last year, and it was a small amount of the substance at that.
    "Unless the problem is so deep underground it's not noticeable, I don't think we have a problem with it. But if that's the case, you'd be seeing some problems arise," Horton said.

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