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Missouri Senate passes K2 ban

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate has passed a bill that would outlaw K2, a group of synthetic compounds that mimics the effects of marijuana. But the chamber also lessened the proposed penalties for possessing the compounds.

The version passed by the House earlier this year would make possession of any amount of K2 a felony. The Senate amended the bill to make possession of less than 35 grams a misdemeanor, the same as with marijuana.

State Senator Jolie Justus (D, Kansas City) sponsored the amendment, saying felony possession of small amounts would be too heavy-handed.

"Having a little bit in your pocket at age 18 or 19, all of a sudden, you could be preventing yourself from working in several different careers...I just don't think as a state that we think that that's a good policy," Justus said.

The Senate unanimously passed the bill with the misdemeanor requirement.

The House sponsor, State Representative Ward Franz (R, West Plains), says he won't challenge the change made by the Senate.

"At this late time in the session, I think we're going to have to take what we can get and be happy with it...the important thing is getting it off the street," Franz said.

St. Charles County and some other Missouri municipalities have already approved bans on retailers selling K2, but there's currently no state law against it.

If the House passes the amended K2 bill, it would then go to Governor Jay Nixon for his signature. Franz says if it becomes law and the current misdemeanor language proves ineffective, he'll try to strengthen it next year.


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