The Clawson City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution that urges the community to support a ban on K2/Spice and refuse to do business with stores that continue to sell it despite its dangers. The resolution also advises local stores selling K2/Spice that their names will be listed publicly for the community.
"This truly is dangerous," Mayor Penny Luebs said. "This is a product that we can no longer afford to have sold."
K2, also known as Spice, is a dried herbal blend sprayed with an analgesic chemical, creating a high similar to marijuana, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Administration. The product is sold in Michigan stores as incense and side effects include heart palpitations, respiratory issues, panic attacks, hallucinations, delusions, vomiting and increased agitation.
The legal synthetic marijuana has been tied to two homicides and one death in Oakland County in recent months. Several southeast Michigan communities have already banned K2/Spice including Macomb County, West Bloomfield, Royal Oak, Plymouth, Canton and Northville.
Clawson City Council members decided against a citywide ban because the Michigan Legislature is considering several bills that would outlaw the sale of K2, Spice and other drugs considered dangerous. A state law would supersede any local ordinances, Clawson City Attorney John Kingsepp said.
Kingsepp said he is confident state lawmakers will ban K2. "I think there's a enough public pressure," he said.
Clawson Police Chief Harry Anderson said there have been no recent reports of K2/Spice incidents in Clawson, but he still encourages the community to be proactive. Anderson plans to work with the Clawson Community Coalition to organize a forum to educate the community about the drug.
The Clawson and Troy Community Coalitions have already launched www.nospicetroyclawson.org to keep residents informed in both communites. According to the website, Smokers Outlet at 1220 W. 14 Mile Rd. in Clawson is still selling K2, Spice and other dangerous synthetic drugs. The coalitions have created orange flyers for local stores to post, stating that they don't sell K2 or Spice.
Oakland County has launched a website for retailers that pledge not to sell synthetic marijuana and other drugs. In return, retailers will receive a window decal that will inform their customers that their store is safe from dangerous synthetic drugs. To take the pledge online go to www.oakgov.com/health and click on the pledge button.
Residents in Clawson are split on whether the K2 epidemic is an issue for teens locally. In a poll taken Friday, 38 percent of voters said the drug was a problem in Clawson and 38 percent said it wasn't. The remaining 11 percent of voters were still uncertain.
"If it is not currently a problem in Clawson, you can bet that it soon will be," Freda Coughlin said in a comment on the poll. "I agree that we should be proactive and not wait until it takes its toll."
The issue also drew attention on the Clawson Patch Facebook page.
"The problem is if it isn't sold here, they'll get it somewhere else or it is also sold in other forms and names," Laurel Martin said. "Inform yourself and really talk to your kids, it's all you can do."