K2 ban passes in Minn. House, no movement in Senate

Kyle Potter

A bill to ban some of the chemicals commonly used in synthetic marijuana products passed the Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday with a resounding vote, but there has been little progress with the bill in the state Senate.

Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, and a team of 15 co-authors saw their bill pass through the Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee today by a 124 to four vote margin.

The bill bans a wide variety of chemical compounds that mimic the properties of THC, the active compound in marijuana. When smoked, products with names like K2 and Spice offer some a legal alternative to the real deal.

With the increase in the products’ popularity over the summer came questions about their safety. Eighteen states have outlawed the products, and 21 other states (including our own) have introduced bills to ban them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Kriesel’s bill makes the sale of any of the substances a gross misdemeanor, and their possession a major misdemeanor.

Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, announced she aimed to ban synthetic marijuana products during the summer. She introduced her bill when the session started in January, but it is still awaiting a first hearing.

Both legislative bodies will need to pass the bill before a law to ban the substances appears on Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk for signature.

 

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