It looks like marijuana. It's smoked like marijuana, and even produces a similar high.
It's called K2, or spice and is legal in the State of Texas. It's an herbal mixture coated with a chemical said to mimic the effects of marijuana. "Spice" was created by a doctor and originally intended for cancer patients, but later found to have no medical benefits; only negative side effects.
Despite the health risks, local teens are smoking it up. One local K2 smoker says there are many different types of "spice," but K2 is the most popular.
"It's the most bang for your buck kinda thing. For $30 you can get 3 G's of K2 Summit which is the most potent of the K2s"
Spice isn't detected in drug tests. Doctors say it's 30 percent more potent than real weed. The man who created the chemical, Dr John Huffman says he never intended for people to ingest it. Huffman released this statement: "People who smoke K2 are idiots."
Because it hasn't been around long, doctors don't know the long-term side effects. So far, it's been linked to one death. Dr. Gaylor Lopez says, "This is incredibly dangerous. We've seen people with tremor's and even seizure activity."
Lopez works for the poison control center and says the organization has received close to 800 calls about K2...compared to last years total of twelve.
Neighboring states, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas have outlawed the drug. Texas has yet to follow suit. Fed up with people legally scoring spice, a handful of Texas cities have passed their own laws. Mansfield was the first.
Mansfield police officer Sgt John Felty pushed city leaders to create an ordinance against K2. "We wanted to be proactive instead of re-active. We take this very seriously for the welfare of our students and our younger generation.
In the Brazos Valley, the number of spice users continues to soar and and it's popularity continues to spread. College Station Mayor Nancy Berry declined to be interviewed on camera but did provide this statement.
"Because this issue is new to the council, I feel it would be inappropriate for me to comment about it at this time. However, I will be recommending to my fellow council members that we learn more about K2 from our police department, The Brazos County Health Department and any other experts so we can determine the best course of action."
Local police say, since it is legal they haven't death with K2. Local teens say it's becoming more popular.
"The popularity of K2 spiked this past year. People were rushing over to some of the local smoke shops to buy it and be put on a wait list."
Texas Senator Florence Shapiro is working on a bill that would ban the sell of "spice." Shapiro plans on presenting it during the 2011 Legislative Session.