Bill to outlaw synthetic marijuana passed in the Ohio House

Caitlin Restelli & Britni Williams

The Ohio House of Representatives voted 95-1 Wednesday to pass a bill that could potentially ban synthetic “fake” marijuana, commonly known as K2 or Spice.

If House Bill 64 is passed in the Ohio Senate and signed by Gov. John Kasich, K2 will be placed on the list of schedule one controlled substances, the same list that holds marijuana. It will prohibit the possession and trafficking of K2, and the consequences of getting caught will be the same as marijuana.

David Goldshtein, member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, said he believes illegalizing the substance isn’t going to solve any of the problems.

“I mean, people are still going to get what they want to get,” said Goldshtein, junior political science major. “By making another illegal substance, it doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t do anything.”

There are five schedules of controlled substances. According to the DEA’s website, Schedule I drugs are classified as having a high potential for abuse, are not currently accepted for treatment in the United States medical field and lack accepted safety for use.

Morgan Burch, freshman athletic training major, said she thinks drugs do not help students focus as well as what people may think.

“(Drugs) should be illegal. It’s going to harm you in the long run,” Burch said. “I mean it may not kill you, but it’s going to harm you.”

According to Drug Enforcement Administration’s public affairs news release March 1, the DEA called for an emergency action to control five chemicals used within K2 or Spice.

Unless authorized by law, the substances cannot be produced or sold within the United States because they are a threat to public health and safety. The DEA will research the chemicals for one year to see if it should permanently control them.

Chris Wallis, SSDP member, said he knew of a vote taking place pertaining to K2, but the House’s verdict Wednesday was news to him. He said he does not believe that prohibition of any substance is the answer.

“I think that only education and awareness can help people make their own decisions,” said Wallis, senior visual journalism major. “Education is really the key to any public health issue. K2 is something that is still new. There’s not a lot of education about it.”

Wallis said SSDP is going to Washington, D.C. to lobby congress Friday, and with this information, he may bring the topic up with congressmen.

“If the goal of the Ohio State legislature is to reduce use of this substance, they’re going about it the wrong way,” Wallis said.

Contact Caitlin Restelli at [email protected] or contact Britni Williams at [email protected].