A feature on StatesmanJournal.com shares concerns from parents in the Mid-Willamette Valley area regarding what is officially termed as ‘herbal incense’ that contains, as an active ingredient, a synthetic cannabinoid. Brand names of this herbal incense include K2, Spice and Buzz.
What parents are concerned about is the fact that Mid-Valley teens seem to have taken to using herbal incense to get high. Since, technically, the incense is not marijuana, it is legal and is being sold at smoke shops. The fact that it is legal also means that police cannot do anything if they see someone using it. Salem Police Sgt. Dennis Engel shared: “There’s absolutely nothing that we can do about it… That’s the hard part.”
Sgt. Engel has been doing research about herbal incense after hearing about it recently. Engel is the head of the street crimes drug investigation unit of the Salem police.
Some teenagers who have used herbal incense have reportedly suffered from harmful side effects due to the substance, so much so that the parents of these teens are now calling for the banning of K2. Some states have already banned the substance, including Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Ohio.
The Oregon Partnership shared that the compound JWH-018, which is the one found in herbal incense, is said to be almost four times as potent as the THC in marijuana. The Oregon Partnership is a non-profit organization that strives to put an end to substance abuse and suicide. The organization has also called for the banning of K2 in the state.