Sunday, May 30, 2010

Controversial K2 Ban Spreads Across Nation Spawning Pro vs Con

Article first published as Controversial K2 Ban Spreads Across Nation, Spawning Pro vs Con Debates on Blogcritics.

Over the past few days I have been researching news reports and the Internet for information reported about the dangers or safety of using K2 and its byproducts. For someone outside looking in, the controversary over the effects and legality of the substance known as K2 is very dynamic in collecting the facts. There are some very distinct commonalities in almost every article, and blogs that are K2 centered, but the biggest source of realistic information comes from the comment sections of each one. The comment sections are very opinionated, bias and with anonymity, but it is perhaps the only place filled with the actual facts on the effects of K2. Their individual experiences.

The facts and theories in the articles and some of the blogs come from professionals in the medical and psychological field and are very insightful. Here we are hearing from doctors, policemen, and politicians with common and extreme views covering their aspect of researching and/or experiences with K2 and its users

What Is K2 And How Is It Used

K2 and its derivatives are produced in the countries of China and Korea as incense and potpourri treated with various chemicals that make it an alternative method to getting a marijuana-like high without the marijuana. The main concerns regard its dangers to its users since it is becoming very popular with teenagers and is sold legally without any federal laws or regulations in place to govern it and its uses. The exact number of chemicals added by spray is unknown, however, one of the main ingredients identified is a chemical identified is a synthetic THC name JWH-018.

JWH-018 was created in the 1990s by a science student at Clemson University named Huff who intended to test the effects of THC on rats. No humans were used for testing, meaning that there has been no concrete data collected about its possible side effects, benefits or use in/for human beings. It is not known how, but someone got hold of Huff's formula then discovered that it had the ability to give a person a marijuana-like high. When and how the formula made its way out of the United States and into China or Korea is also unknown.

Disregarding the labeled warning on the K2 packaging that it was not for human consumption, teenagers and adult abusers ingest K2 by rolling it in paper like marijuana, then smoke it like a joint/cigarette, in pipes, bongs or vaporizers as they would with marijuana. Unlike marijuana and other drug favorites, there are no procedures available, chemical or otherwise, that can detect K2 in its user. This makes it hard for law enforcement officers and medical personnel to identify an abuser of K2 that has been detained for a traffic stop or medical treatment.

Being undetectable is the main reason for its increasing popularity with the teenagers and people whose employer requires its employees to drug test, because they still want to get high. They can not be terminated for ingesting K2 prior to reporting for work since K2 is so new that no one has created a detection procedure for it plus it is sold legally. Some retailers have reported that their customer base is not only filled with teens, college students, and parolees, but with professional people as well, including law enforcement.


K2's Alternative Identities

You can find K2 by various names sold mainly in Head Shops and on the Internet. Keep in mind that this list is non-inclusive because time has proven that manufacturers will undoubtedly work around any ban put in place by the government on their products by making small changes to it and giving it a new identity or name. The following list of K2 names were collected mostly from the comment section of articles and blogs posted on the Internet by users and professionals.

K2 is also known as: Spice, Supernova, Genie, zohal, skunk and spirit with various blends like blonde, citron, summit, standard, space, watermelon chiba, Spice Silver, pink, Spice Gold, Spice Diamond, K2 Blue, K2 Blue Supper Summit and Yucatan fire.


Dangerous Or Safe

Observed And User Reported K2 Effects

The Negative Side

K2 like many dangerous and safety tested products; K2 does not react the same way in everyone's biological system. By running a search on the Internet for the keywords of "K2" and "ban" I received around 3 pages of valuable "hits" providing me with enough information to determine what may be the truth or just someone’s opinion.

The side effects had both positive and negative reactions that were common to most of the comments and article contents that I read. Before I start, I need to point out that there is not any verifiable data for using K2, and by not knowing what will happen once you consume or digest something presents a potential danger to the person consuming it.

The most common effects that I noticed by what the commenter said happen after using K2. First the negative: almost immediately there were severe headaches lasting anywhere from approximately 2 hours to about 10 days, sometimes much longer. The headaches were accompanied with nausea lasting at least 2 hours; experiencing blackouts; flashbacks like what PCP users experience; severe paranoia to the point of total panic; an extreme high lasting for over 2 hours, sometimes over 24 hours; clammy, sweaty skin; a pale appearance; increased heart rate; depression; psychotic episodes; anxiety; an "I'm going to die" feeling; erratic breathing; severely impaired vision; twitches, convultions, shakes, seizures, tremors; blood pressure bottoming out; sheer terror; dizziness; delayed reactions to surroundings; mind wandering; vomiting; profound sweating; sleepiness; disorientation; high blood pressure; severe hallucinations; confusion: claustiphobia; short term memory loss and severe agitation, As you can see this list has some life threatening side effects, and the list is going to continue to grow.

There was one report of a 16 year-old male attempting to jump into his swimming pool from a second story widow. This was after smoking "fake" marijuana and as you may imagine the results were not like receiving a score of 10 in a diving competition. His mother stated that he had to have 69 stitches. Another person that reported to a hospital with multiple K2 adverse reactions listed above said that he saw the devil dragging him to hell and demons mocking him.

A Doctor Scalzo, St. Louis University in Missouri also reported that he had treated 30 teenagers at a hospital emergency room after they had consumed K2, and their reaction was nothing like the kind normally seen with marijuana use. They had experienced 10 of the above listed reactions. Another doctor stated that 160 cases where K2 were treated for respiratory problems and high blood pressure. It is also possible that K2 attacks the cardiovascular and central nervous systems.

In Colorado, a television reporter equipped with a hidden camera walked into a Head Shop to purchase some K2. Not only was he able to buy some K2, the store clerk told the reporter how to get high with K2 taking 1 or 2 hits and waiting for 5 minutes.


The Reported Positive Side

For every Con, there is a Pro side to every issue ever debated. I would be unfair and commit an injustice if I did not also report on the expressed positive effects of the substance named K2 or Spice. There has not been an official study on the effects of K2 making what I present here based on what was placed in the comment sections of the blogs and articles I research for this article. One comment stated that there is not any official information from a study or testing, but everyone wants to present the alleged negative effects of K2 to support the proposed banning of K2.

What I present here is public information (literary material placed in a public location for all to see) taken from the alleged commenters’ that are professed drug users.

Many stated they believe that K2 is the perfect substitute for the illegal marijuana that is so widely used. The best compromise would be to replace K2 with the natural herb, marijuana, by making it legal to possess, use, purchase or barter. Since the opinion of the majority, the consensus has concluded that marijuana is the lesser of the two evils because its effects are not as dangerous as those present with K2.

Comparing K2 usage to marijuana use, the problem that is making K2 so dangerous is that no one is very familiar with K2, there is no official documented information on the long and short term use of K2, that the people having the adverse reactions are using it like marijuana and not entering the river without knowing what to expect. The adverse user does not know that K2 is 3 to 5 times stronger than marijuana and that they should use less to obtain the high they get from smoking a lot of marijuana.

The users proclaim that they have not ran into any adverse because they go in smoking a lesser amount K2 compared to using marijuana. A person can get an enjoyable high if they smoke K2 in moderation instead of jumping off a tall building or bridge knowing that you would be safer if you 1. were able to fly or 2. was close enough to the ground or water when you. On the average taking about 1 to 3 puffs (hits) of K2 will give you the same level of intoxication as in smoking at minimum a whole joint. You know the saying, ". . . puff, puff, give".

The high feeling from K2 comes a lot faster than marijuana, by being felt almost immediately, where as marijuana's is delayed because it has to penetrate the lungs, to get into your blood. Everyone is claiming to not having an adverse experience, but a mild chilling feeling smoke a minimum amount because they did not know how they would be affected.

If you pay attention to what blend you or your buddies are using, you will find that K2 Blue is one of the strongest K2 blends, if not the strongest.

Experienced users reported the following positive K2 effects that they had: relaxation; at worse, a mild headache; giggly; dreamlike trip from K2 Blue; it's legal; high last less than marijuana; drops off rather quickly; it does not support gun toting drug dealers and cartels; an entire body high feeling; and you use lesser quantity than you do with marijuana.


Who Should Take Action About K2

In areas that have all ready banned all K2 products by introducting ordinances making it a misdemeanor to sell, barter, possess or use any products containing the substance titled JWH-018 and other chemicals contained in K2 and on average could face a fine of up to $1000, and one year of confinement. Arrests have all ready been made in Lawrence, Kansas, for being in possess of K2 and Spice for distribution in a locale where it has been banned. The raid was conducted by the Food and Drug Administration along with the sheriff department proclaiming that the search and seizure was for prohibited drugs and not for the possession of K2, which was confiscated and the owner detained by law enforcement personnel for violating a new ordinance making K2 illegal within the state at a future date. This means that the owner, if facing charges for having K2 for sell on the premises, was illegally arrested for a law that is not in force until July 1, 2010, a later date than the date of arrest.

There has been arrests made in Crawford and Sebastian Counties in Arkansas, and in the state of Kentucky where laws banning K2 has all ready been enacted. In each instant there was no known means or physical indication that K2 had been used in either location of arrests. A great portion of the controversy could be eliminated if the Congress would introduce and pass legislation that would make K2 and its derivatives be listed in the scheduling of the FDA as a controlled substance or drug. Then states would not have to go through the steps of making K2 illegal, but they would just have to come up with the dealings of K2 when their law enforcement come upon a K2 situation constituting a violation of the new federal law.

Since there is a perceived danger to using this substance, Congress should forego recessing the current session until legislation could be introduced and signed into law. They are expected to recess for the summer next week. Using this being an election year as an excuse for not confronting volatile issues that is plaguing this country now like the Arizona Immigration Law and use of K2. This not the time to side-step when their constituents need the people they elected to office to represent their interest and affairs.


In Closing

One notable adverse reaction is that many users feel that "Big Brother" is strong arming its way into people lives by banning a product that is legal before conducting a thorough study on the effects of K2 denying American citizens from exercising their constitutional rights. The feeling is that the federal government is stepping into the States’ operational domain.

K2, Spice and their derivatives are the newest plague to attack the American society along with the international controversary over a state in the US enforcing federal legislation that affect its citizens and helps the rest of the nation. K2 is not as deadly as the terrorist group Al-Quaeda is to the United States, but it is alarmingly becoming one of the most dangerous enemies to weaken our youths. Is K2 a plan to weaken America's future or is it just a coincidence that it migrated to our shores at a time when the Obama Administration is facing hard times politically.

Contrary to what is happening across the nation where the smallest elements of our government, the cities, are making decisions that Congress should have convened on. This is not just a young issue that is affecting "Billy Bob" in the country, but a quickly maturing problem that is dividing our nation just as the controversial immigration reform law passed in Arizona is doing. This issue just is not as volatile as offending a neighboring nation whose people are creating the problem our nation is fighting over.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Arkansas County's K2 Ban Lands First Arrest

Article first published as Arkansas To Conduct Study On K2 Effects on Blogcritics.

Across the nation, city, county and state officials are taking action to deter the use of K2, which is referred to as a synthetic marijuana, and produces a marijuana-like high to those who consume it.

Arkansas cities (Alpena, Greenwood, Ozark, Paris and Springdale) along with Benton, Crawford and Sebastian counties have joined the ranks of Kansas, Missouri and a number of nations which have banned the substance. K2 presently is not classified as an illegal drug, making it legal to purchase, possess and use in most areas internationally, and thus leaving the lower level governments to take protective measures for their citizens. Most are doing this by adding an emergency clause to the proposed ordinance banning K2, allowing it to take effective immediately once the ban is passed.

Spice, aka K2, has been made illegal to possess, purchase or use in the following nations: Austria, Chile, Finland, France, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom. This shows the need to control K2 in the world marketplace.

Manufactured in Asia and sold online or in local stores, K2 and similar substances are marketed as herbal incense. A disclaimer on a K2-selling web site reads: "K2 Herbal products are novelty incenses and are not for consumption."

Unlike most drugs, there is no way to detect its use in a person, making concerns over its dangers even greater, with effects that appear to be much stronger than marijuana, three to five times more potent, making it a major a threat to communities. In the United States, hospitalization cases have been reported in Florida, Maine and Arkansas, in addition to St. Louis, Springfield and Kansas City.

The psychoactive drug can cause users to experience rapidly increased heart rates, loss of consciousness, paranoia and, occasionally, psychotic episodes. One hospitalized user claimed that he could see his heart beating out of his chest. Individuals react differently to the drug.

Since the ban has been in place, one K2-related arrest has been made in the Arkansas county of Crawford. It seems that the police were notified of a possible drug transaction in the parking lot of one of the city's malls. As one vehicle was departing, one of the arriving officers noticed a traffic violation, giving cause to conduct a traffic stop.

The officers found an unopened package of K2 in the driver's glove compartment. There was no indication that the driver or his juvenile passenger had used the substance. They each now face a fine of up to $1000 and/or confinement for up to a year.

Sold in various flavors in 3-gram bags, the product consists of herbs that are sprayed with synthetic substances that mimic THC, the high-causing natural chemical found in marijuana. Laboratories have found that K2/Spice contains large amounts of synthetic tocopherol, which is not listed as one of its active ingredients.

Until the U.S. Drug Administration places the ingredient, JW-018, on its scheduling, K2 or Spice will continue to be sold legally by public retailers and on the internet.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

K2 Arrest Made In Arkansas

The first arrest involving K2 since the ban on the substance went into effect, has been made in Crawford County, Arkansas. A teenager was involved in a traffic accident in Van Buren, in which when the police searched his vehicle they found a bag of K2 in the glove compartment.

This is the first arrest since the law went into effect. The story has been on televised news locally.

Arizona Immigration Law On Path To U.S. Supreme Court

The Arizona immigration law has taken a step closer towards its destiny in the United States Supreme Court, the nation's leading civil rights groups coalition filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Phoenix on Monday. This moves the issue of racial profiling and alleged civil rights violations closer to its finality. Not an immediate solution, but it shall come to pass.

The Arizona law requires local and state law enforcement to check a person's citizenship if they are suspected to be in the United States illegally. What probably need to be clarified is that this will only happen during typical policing if at that time it is suspected that the individual is an illegal regardless of race. Especially scince individuals and organizations are claiming that it will promote racial profiling and violate individual civil liberties. The Coalition further claims that it violates the Constitution's supremacy clause.which trumps the state law. They argue that immigration enforcement is an exclusive federal authority.

The coalition includes the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, the NAACP, the National Immigration Law Center, plus others piggy-backing onto the suit. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer foresaw that the law could be and probably would be legally challenged on its constitutionality. The defendants named in the lawsuit include the county attorneys and local sheriffs in Arizona. This is the fifth federal lawsuit filed so far.

With the Justice Department considering taking action in court against the law will either file its own lawsuit or piggy-back on a suit all ready filed. This is what leads to the fact that this legal battle is going to go before the U.S. Supreme Court before it is over. No matter what the District Court's decision, an appeal will be filed.

The nation is divided on the issue of immigration. Those "for" feel that it is time that someone take action on either eliminating or controlling how immigrants enter the United States. At the same time, those "against" either feel that the federal government is not fulfilling its responsibilities to the people, or that it violates civil rights to infringe on a certain individual rights.

I see that no matter what lawsuit is filed, no matter which nation voices its objections, or individual public figure voicing their displeasure, the Supreme Court is going to have the final decision and the federal government takes over protecting our southern border.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Palin, Palin, Palin - Why Forth Art Thou, Palin

Where there is national happenings you can bet that certain people will add their two cents. The Reverend Al Sharpton will be wherever there is a racial injustice, as one perceived  so profoundly as the immigration law passed by Arizona Governor Brewer. This man has had a presence since the days of marches and boycotts with Martin Luther King Jr. So,  his presence here is expected. But Sarah Palin?

Palin, Palin, Sarah Palin, why forth art thou involved? It seems that every time there is something negative reflecting on the Barack Administration, you are one of the first to open their mouth to criticize. No one can deny that enforcing our immigration laws should be a federal matter, but why do you feel that it is your job to help make it a point? The migration of illegals into the United States is not new, and discouraging illegal aliens, deporting them, does not seem to work on any level. It has gone on for far too long.

You agree with the actions of Governor Brewer, and I do too, but do you feel that this will help clear you a path to the White House? Do you really believe that Governor Brewer took the appropriate action to bring this problem to the American people and the world?

Everyone is attacking Governor Brewer and the state of Arizona. Arizona's own cities, their neighboring states, neighboring nation, and different public figures and celebrities here and abroad.

Do you think, Ms. Palin, that Mexico is upset because it is targeting their native people, or is the Mexican government mad that they may no longer have a way to get rid of its undesirables? That it will cut off its drug cartels pipeline into the United States? Hmmm, loss of finances.

Ms Palin, do you feel that this is a national or international matter? Mexico has no business trying to get involved in the internal affairs of another nation. Our nation. Your actions on this matter may decide your political future. Is this your thoughts too? Going from speaking to a group of hunters to getting in the political spotlight as just a window of opportunity to keep your name in the American people's mind.

This is just my opinion of your involvement.

Another Arkansas County Considers Ordinances Banning Of K2 (Spice)

Sebastian County in Arkansas is the latest in the state to consider banning the purchase, possession and sale of K2. K2, currently,is a legal substance sold in  various stores and by retailers nationwide. The substance is packaged and marketed as an incense and labeled not for human consumption, and gives its users a marijuana-like high when it is smoked.

Unlike marijuana and other drugs, there is no known method of detection to identify its use in individuals. The long term effects are unknown, but is potentially dangerous to those that use it. If the ordinance is passed, punishment will be the same as other counties, municipalities and states that have outlawed K2. Violation will be a misdemeanor, and upon conviction will carry a fine up to $1000, and/or confinement up to one year. Law enforcement officials and legislators have indicated that banning K2 within the state will be under consideration in its January session.

As of date, there has been one incident in their neighboring county in Oklahoma where a driver involved in an automobile accident was alleged to have been under K2's influence.

At the current rate waves of ordinances are going in place to control K2, the federal government will have to pursue banning K2 and Spice on the national level. However, in the meantime local and state officials are taking action to protect their citizens.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Un-Concealed Weapon - Daze Of The Gunslinger Returning?

Concealment, that is what a concealed weapon license requires of its holder. In order to receive a concealed license you must have training on the type of gun you are registering. I.e., a revolver or a semi-automatic. You can not be a felon, that is a big no-no. What is the problem?

There are states that are trying to pass legislation to allow weapons to be worn publicly, and not concealed. They think that this will be a deterent to crime, and make it safer for their citizens. How will they control who is carrying a weapon legally, and who is not? Will law enforcement have itchy trigger fingers because they will not be able to tell the criminal from the victim or potential victim?

When I read this in the newspaper about the Oklahoma Governor vetoe-ing such passage allowing citizens to carry weapons publicly, I was filled with concern. They have around 95,000 people with a concealed license, and estimate that only about ten per cent actually carry one on them. State representatives (both houses) are planning to try to override the governor's veto.

If such a law was passed, I believe that more people would began carrying their guns. Both registered and non-registered. It'll be like returning to the old west where you could not tell who were criminal until they committed a crime. People, especially the young and inexperienced, may see this as an opportunity to flex a little muscle, or a place to hide in the open before and after they commit a crime. Others not registered, having not gone through any type of training, might feel that they will need to start carrying because they feel threaten seeing all of the people wearing guns.

I am a licensed concealed weapons holder, and if such a law was in effect in Arkansas, it would make me nervous. Being an Army veteran, I have had more weapons training, and trained more people with weapons usage than most people I meet. I have also been robbed by two young black males. One with what looked like a shotgun in the dark. The front door of my home was smashed by a "friend" strung out on crack cocaine. He threatened me and put a gun in my wife's face. Fortunately for him, I was not near any of the weapons in my house. His pistol was a pellet gun, but point blank range it is still capable of killing.

So, returning to the days of the gunslinger is an option I do not want to see.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Arizona: A Nation Of One - Will Illegal Immigration Bring Down A Nation?

Slavery divided a young nation causing a civil war between its Northern and Southern states. Will illegal immigration pit a nation or even the world community wholly against a state over a mirror law?

It has long been illegal to be in the United States without the proper documentation, just as it is in almost every nation around the world. The only difference here is that it affects a people that is making a contribution to a nation whose ancestry can be traced to where they come from.

There are individuals, nations, and now the second largest city in the nation, Los Angeles, boycotting Arizona over a law that appears to be bias and discriminatory toward the largest group of illegals in any nation. Hispanics. Racial profiling is nothing new, and never has it gotten so much publicity until now. Why?

With Los Angeles it is simple: it was practically built by Hispanics and has legalized Hispanics, called Mexican-Americans, governing it. True, their ancestors were immigrants, but were they here illegally? Most undoubtedly they were not. They lived and worked here following the laws of this nation.

I have nothing against my Hispanic and Latino brothers and sisters, I just want them to follow the same laws that I have to. It is a problem meeting someone that does not speak the national language, drive illegally, were criminals in their country now continuing their practice here, and do not contribute financially to a system that supports them.

Someone has to take the first step, and Arizona is being penalized for doing just that, taking the first step toward controlling illegal immigration. It seems that everyone is willing to fault a state on a racial issue when it has been known to object to such things as celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

To the individual state and federal governments, just because popular belief and foreign pressures are forcing you to take action against one of your own, you need to realize that the step Governor Brewer has taken was much needed at this time of political, financial, and terrorist concerns.

If similar action is not taken at minimum by the states bordering Mexico, follow by neighboring states, we may see times worse than Birmingham, Memphis, and Chicago where our nation encountered racial unrest. The problem is going to escalate spreading into the states that do not have similar legislation in place. Look at the statistics following Oklahoma implementing their immigration law.

Some people (politicians included) are comparing Arizona’s action to Adolph Hitler in his treatment of Jews. I compare checking a suspected illegal alien of their resident status to being in Germany where you had to produce military ID, passport and/or a visa when requested by the German police. It is a necessary measure that everyone will have to get used to.

In closing, think about this, in George Lopez’s HBO show, "George Lopez: Tall, Dark, & Chicano," he jokes about immigration laws. He said something to the effect that in five years when the Hispanic and Latinos are the majority, when police pulls over or stop a white person they will be asked for their license, registration, and proof of citizenship. With the illegal population growing, it just might come to be.

Look around, the Hispanics and Latinos are becoming the new majority.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

History Revisited: The Hispanic Emancipation

Doesn't the immigration issue today remind you of the years the Afro-American people had to fight for their rights to be called an American citizen? The biggest difference being that the Afro-Americans were brought here from abroad, but the Hispanics came here willingly, walking across the border. The Afro-American had no rights, no basic citizen benefits. The Hispanic, however, is receiving state benefits, gainful employment, and they have a voice we did not have.

They have the nation divided, and they are screaming loudly. Much like the North and South during the Civil War, somebody wants to be free. In this case some are saying, "deport the illegals", while the other side is saying, "it is cruel and inhuman to single out one race and send them away from a land proud to be a Democracy." A land built on immigrants. Actually, this country was built on the blood of a people that did not choose to be here. Today, however, they are proud of their people's contributions to the society of a great nation that once look down upon them.

Is this where we have come to, revisiting our past, but with different players, but no bloodshed? Yet. Between immigration laws and the health reform, we are a nation torn.

My opinion is to send the illegals back to Mexico, the ones that are not willing to comply with the laws of this land, and become legal. The ones that cross the border day and night putting our border patrol in harm's way. The ones that have violence in their past, or since they have been here.

This is one issue that is going to linger for years, just like the civil rights movement. Since we are unable to avoid it, maybe this one will get resolved to the people's satisfaction.

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