The marijuana "alternative" K2 has been available in Michigan for some time now ... so I guess it's about time the government tried to ban it.

State Rep. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, our local crusader of all things pure and holy, introduced a bill on Wednesday that would "classify as a Schedule 1 drug any substance that mimics the effects of marijuana, such as an herbal substance known as K2."

The former Eaton County sheriff's reasoning for the ban, according to the House Legislative Analysis guys, is that hospitals are reporting K2 (also called Spice, Dragon, Rhino and other intense names) can hurt you, and that the stuff is marketed to young kids, and - the Sinophobe part - that it's manufactured in China and Korea out of unknown substances.

A little background on K2: it's a synthetic compound similar to THC (the stuff in marijuana that gets you high) called JWH-018 (and other variations) accidentally created in 1995 by a grad student working with Clemson University organic chemist John Huffman. They were doing research on the brain's cannabinoid receptors, and WHAMO!, they created marijuana's synthetic little brother. K2 is just a brand name, but all similarly marketed products contain a JWH-018-ish compound.

I tried asking the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency about whether synthetic copies of illegal drugs are actually illegal, or just, maybe, frowned upon. They didn't answer. I'm guessing it's something that has yet to be taken up by Congress - though progressive states like Michigan, Missouri and Kansas are really grabbing the bull by the horns on this, uh, issue.

A few months ago, I spoke to an MSU student, Nick, who tried K2 (bought it from Silver Streak/Krazy Katz in East Lansing). He said, "If you are familiar with the high of THC, it's close."

Well, sorry, Nick. If this bill goes into effect, and you're caught with K2, you could go to jail for a year and get a $2,000 fine. With you and all your slacker, synthetic-THC smoking friends out of the way, Michigan will be well on its way to recovery.

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