Federal Drug authorities are working to learn more about a synthetic drug known as K2, or Spice. It's showing up in novelty stores in the District, Maryland and Virginia, and it's legal in all three states.
Essentially K2 is just crushed green leaves infused with a chemical which can produce a marijuana like high when smoked. The chemical is a synthetic compound similar to the active element in pot, but intended for use in research.
Special Agent Gary Boggs of the Drug Enforcement Administration says, "The problem is we don't know what the long term effects are of these chemicals. We do know that they've caused side effects and that people are going to the hospital as a result of taking these chemicals."
The package labels clearly indicates the product is intended for use as incense and not meant for human consumption. Boggs says although the DEA is moving quickly to make K2 illegal under federal law, some states are taking the initiative.
"I believe 4 or 5 states have legislation and a couple of others are looking at it as well," he says.
Last week, Missouri signed legislation into law banning K2. Currently, no such legislation exist in D.C., M.D. or V.A.