Marijuana is illegal to possess for recreational or commercial purposes. In reaction to marijuana prohibition, smokeable herbal blends have become popular route to score that sweet, sweet legal high. The newest blend that is on the shelves at local smoke shops is being labeled as "fake weed" because of the marijuana-like high that comes from smoking it, despite not containing THC.
"We sell Wicked Spice (www.buywickedspice.com) as an incense, what people do with it once they leave The Joint is up to them. We have no control over it once it leaves our store," said employee Sara Jacobs, who added that the shop sells more than 150-200 grams of Wicked Spice/K2 a week.
"We can't even keep it in inventory because we are selling so much of it. Since were open until 3 a.m., we get a very wide range of people buying Wicked Spice: your mid 40-something professionals, grandmothers, and college kids," Jacobs added.
The blend is referred to as K2, Wicked Spice or Genie and is a mixture of exotic herbs that are coated with a chemical compound called JWH-018. The compound is designed to mimic THC on the cellular level. K2 affects the brain receptors that are responsible for inducing a euphoric high very similar to that caused by smoking dope.
The packaging for K2 and other similar products plainly state "Not for human consumption," but word has gotten around of the effects of smoking it, making the warning nothing more than a technicality.
Mathias, a junior environmental policy and management major, resonated the claim by stating, "I guess the effects were similar (to marijuana), but it was already in my head that I didn't like it because it tasted like fish food."
The company who makes the product is shrouded in secrecy, keeping that information to itself. Multiple websites claimed to have been the "official K2 website," but would not disclose exactly what is in the product they are selling, or allow an interview from any media source. Nolan Miller, the front manager from Dream Merchant Pipeshop & Tattoos, is unaware of the additive. "I don't know anything about the chemicals that are involved with it," he said.
K2 is currently legal to buy in most states in the country, including Ohio. It is available online from various websites, as well as the various smoke shops around the OSU campus. The Dream Merchant on 13th and High, for example has been selling the product starting at $25 per gram, with price drops as quantity increases. According to Nolin from Dream Merchant, Wicked Spice has been selling "pretty consistently every day" to both students and non-students around campus.
While K2 is currently legal in Ohio, it might not be for long; Great Britain, Germany, Poland and France have banned all sales of synthetic marijuana, according to CNN. This is not a good sign for fake pot proprietors in America. Kansas, Kentucky and Missouri have all written legislation proposing the banishment of products containing JWH-018. It is only a matter of time before the rest of the country jumps on the bandwagon.