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Va. State Senator Wants To Outlaw 'Synthetic Marijuana'

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"Spice" is another name for a substance commonly known as synthetic marijuana. It is not illegal in Virginia, but nine other states have made it illegal.
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"Spice" is another name for a substance commonly known as synthetic marijuana. It is not illegal in Virginia, but nine other states have made it illegal.

Police in Northern Virginia say they're seeing a rapid increase in the use of a relatively new substance known commonly as "K2" or "synthetic marijuana." There's currently nothing illegal about K2, but one local state senator is trying to change that.

State Sen. Mark Herring of Loudoun County doesn't like the term "synthetic marijuana."

He says though K2, also known as "spice," may look like marijuana, it consists of legal plant material -- that doctors will tell you might as well be shredded cardboard -- sprayed with manufactured chemicals.

"It's not something that has any medical purpose, it's not something that is naturally occurring, so I think most physicians would say it's dangerous in any amount," Herring says.

But even though Herring doesn't like the link to marijuana, under his bill the penalties for possessing K2 and possessing marijuana would be exactly the same.

At a panel discussion hosted by Herring Monday night, Ed Myers, father of two children in the Loudoun public school system, said he isn't sure outlawing K2 is the right move.

"By making K2 illegal, there'll be a K3 and a K4 and a K5, and we'll just have more unknown chemicals introduced into our community," Myers said.

Nine other states have already outlawed K2, and in November the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency placed a year-long ban on the five chemicals used to make it.

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