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story.lead_photo.caption The state Board of Health approved an emergency ban on the K2 and and other synthetic marijuana substances.

— Gov. Mike Beebe has signed an emergency order banning the sale of K2 and other synthetic marijuana products.

The Arkansas State Board of Health approved the ban and Beebe signed the order a short time later. Only one board member voted against it.

The order will last for 120 days, though the board indicated it will go through a process to install a permanent ban on K2 and similar substances.

Arkansas' health officer talks about ban on sale of synthetic marijuana like K2.

Order bans sale of synthetic marijuana

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Board members voted after hearing statements from legislators, an Arkansas prosecutor, Arkansas State Police and others. Supporters of the ban argued the drug hasn't been tested, causes problems like dangerously high blood pressure and seizures and isn't even marketed for human consumption.

Marcus Vaden, prosecuting attorney for the 20th Judicial District, told the board his fellow prosecutors were "overwhelmingly" in favor of the ban.

There have been issues involving K2 in his jurisdiction, he said, including users arriving at the hospital with hallucinations and convulsions and car accidents tied to its use.

"This is a dangerous thing that's out there," Vaden said. "It's having effects and we don't know the magnitude of the effects. But I can tell you from the front lines, it is a problem."

Representative Donna Hutchinson, R-Bella Vista, said synthetic marijuana is sought out in northern Arkansas as people make their way to Missouri, which has banned the substance. She called it "illogical" that a drug like K2 could be sold without regulation.

K2 was first developed as part of a National Institute on Drug Abuse research project and has never been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

"What started out to be probably a good drug eventually has turned into Frankenstein," Hutchinson said. "And we need to move it back into the regular format, the regular way we test and make sure that drugs are safe for human beings."

Dr. Marvin Leibovich, an emergency and trauma doctor at UAMS, cast the lone vote against the ban. He said there have been only 26 problem cases with possible ties to K2 across the state, a paltry sum compared to the estimated 40,000 annual hospital visits tied to alcohol abuse.

"Yet we're going to say there's an emergency that exists because of 26 cases in Arkansas," Leibovich said before voting. "To me, I don't think there's an emergency in the state."

Violators of the new ban face a misdemeanor conviction that carries a fine of up to $500 and up to a month in jail. A separate civil penalty carries a fine up to $1,000.

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  • malcolmkyle
    July 3, 2010 at 7:54 a.m.

    Like it or not, there has never been, and nor will there ever be, a drug-free society; the use of addictive or recreational drugs is a natural part of human existence. Nobody here is claiming that any substance is beneficial for either the individual or society. It is true however that certain substances help the soul heal and relieve pain while others provide short-term relief from a monotonous existence at the risk of possible long-term health problems.

    America 1919-1933 experienced a bloody era of violence and killings that started to decline only when the Volstead Act was finally repealed.

    Why was it ever enacted? Because the first feminist movement in the United States, the Women's Temperance Union, bolstered by church and other social engineering movements argued correctly that alcohol was extremely addictive and led to family distress, unemployment and violence against women and children.

    In 1923 the executive council of the American Federation of Labor issued an address to the American people after an exhaustive investigation of the effects of the Volstead Act. It was shown by this investigation that there had been–––

    A general disregard of the law among all classes of people, including those who made the law.

    Creation of thousands of moonshiners among both country and city dwellers.

    The creation of an army of bootleggers.

    An amazing increase in the traffic in poisons and deadly concoctions and drugs.

    An increased rate of insanity, blindness, and crime among the users of these concoctions and drugs.

    Increase in taxes to city, State, and National Government amounting to approximately $1,000,000,000 per year.


    Since prohibition was repealed, there have still been problems with alcohol addiction along with associated health issues, but the vast majority of people's drinking has not led to the downfall of society. If we can handle the regulation of alcohol, one of the most powerful, addictive and dangerous of drugs, we can handle just about anything, and that includes cocaine and amphetamines.

    And everything is readily available right now to all of us anyway. Drugs of all varieties are cheap and plentiful, and the basic economics of drug dealing remain: Take one dealer off the street, and another takes his place. Something that simply doesn't happen for other more real crimes, such as murder, embezzlement or burglary.

    Historically, the prohibition of any mind altering substance has never succeeded in providing what is needed, which is a safer environment for the addict, the family and society at large. It always has, and always will, spawn far worse conditions than those it claims to be able to alleviate.

  • Aubree88
    September 16, 2010 at 2:19 p.m.

    I don't believe in telling other people what they can and cannot do with their bodies. Prohibition is unconstitutional. Of course, I do wish people would be more careful, especially my loved ones. My friends were telling me about some sort of blueberry K2 incense and I googled it and found out it is counterfeit. Apparently there are only a few authentic blends so the list of fakes is scary long and they don't quite know what is in those, It's worth checking out if you buy this or know someone who does. Stay safe.....

  • Shubby1
    September 29, 2010 at 12:20 p.m.

    I think it should be legal completely, however if it is really dangerous then maybe a ban on the substance should not be out of the question. However these synthetic cannabinoids are also used for cancer research and should still be available for those terms. Places like sell the product online for rather inexpensive, so it seems easy to get your hands on.

  • ashbash584
    October 25, 2010 at 11:44 a.m.

    It's nerve-wracking how some people are so ban happy. It should be crystal clear by now that prohibition just doesn't work. Well, for anyone but the black market drug peddlers, that is. They are having a field day with this k2 incense stuff. Apparently there is loads of counterfeit floating about already. This site even offers rewards for reporting it. FDA regulation doesn't mean much to me as they are constantly approving toxins for human consumption. Go research some of the ingredients in your extremely processed "food".