'Legal Marijuana' Being Sold Near Denver School

Lawmakers Writing Legislation To Ban K2

A Colorado lawmaker is working on legislation that would ban a substance known as K2 or ‘legal marijuana’ after 7News discovered some shops are knowingly selling the so-called ‘incense’ as a legal high.

K2 is a mix of herbs sprayed with HU-210, a toxic chemical that mimics THC, the active chemical in marijuana.

After hearing about the substance from 7News, state Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp (R) Littleton plans to introduce a bill that would ban K2 in Colorado.

Currently, K2, also known as ‘Spice,’ is being sold in both smoke shops and convenience stores throughout Colorado, including a Sunmart gas station that is just steps away from Denver’s East High School.

“Kids come in there in the morning before they go to school to get something to drink. A lot of kids come there to lunch. Kids are there all hours of the day,” said Elliot Mamet, who will be a senior at East High next fall. “It shouldn't be sold catty-corner to a high school.”

But K2 is so new that it has not been regulated, and it can legally be sold anywhere.

“This product could theoretically be sold in Safeway,” said Dr. Alvin Bronstein, medical director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center. “It can be sold anywhere.”

That is because K2 is marketed as incense. The owner of the Sunmart next to East High School sold 7News a quarter ounce bottle of the substance for $15 without asking for an ID.

He claimed he did not know people smoke the so-called incense, despite the fact that he keeps it behind the counter near tobacco products and claimed to only sell to those who are 18 or older.

“I don't care what they do with it,” he said. “I just sell it. That's all I do.”

“Shopkeepers that are selling this stuff are absolutely part of the problem,” said Kopp. “They're essentially legal drug peddlers.”

Mamet said he would like to see local or state legislation banning the sale of K2 near schools, but Kopp said the federal government has already deemed HU-210 a schedule one controlled substance, and he expects broad support for banning the substance altogether.

“Now that we understand what this drug is capable of doing, I cannot see why, as a state we wouldn't all agree that this absolutely has to be treated as a controlled substance,” said Kopp.

Already three states, Kentucky, Missouri and Kansas have passed legislation banning K2. The Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center said roughly a dozen Colorado teens and 20-somethings have been hospitalized in the emergency room after smoking K2 since the beginning of the year.