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Crackdown on Synthetics: K2, "Spice" and "Vanilla Sky"

In 2011, the Nebraska legislature banned K2, also referred to as "Spice" or synthetic marijuana. K2 is a mixture of spices and herbs treated with a synthetic compound similar to THC. Smoke shops have sold K2 as incense.

Last month, the Lincoln/Lancaster County Narcotics Task Force arrested an owner and one employee at a Lincoln smoke shop. The task force found more than 1,000 canisters of K2 pursuant to a warrant. The narcotics investigators also found rolling papers, scales and other paraphernalia in the shop.

The smoke shop was near an American Legion Park. Because of the shop's location, the owner and employee were each jailed on suspicion of controlled substance crimes within 1,000 feet of a playground.

The arrests come on the heels of the 2011 ban on the substance. Nebraska law enforcement will continue to complete more compliance checks to crackdown on abuse of the synthetic substances.

Federal Enforcement Efforts

In 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration placed five synthetic cannabinoids onto Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. In late July, the St. Louis DEA office seized synthetic drugs across their six states territory including Nebraska.

The effort was part of a crackdown on synthetic drugs, including bath salts and fake marijuana such as "Spice" and "Vanilla Sky."

As part of the effort, DEA agents seized five million packets of synthetic drugs and arrested six people. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama also signed into law measures that ban the sale, production and possession of many of the chemicals used to make many of the popular synthetic drugs.

Smoke shop owners need to take note of the increased enforcement. Owners may want to contact an attorney to discuss the best way to dispose of any remaining inventory of the banned substances.

Source: Lincoln Journal Star, "Police seize suspected K2 from Lincoln smoke shop; arrest owner, employee," Michael Bamesberger, July 13, 2012. July 27, 2012.

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