‘Spice,’ ‘K2,’ synthetic cannabis — by any name, now a felony

Kitsap County prosecutors appear to have filed the first ever charges in the county against someone for possessing synthetic marijuana. “Spice,” “K2” and other so-called “synthetic cannabinoids” were officially banned by the state’s pharmacy board in November 2010.

Possession of substances known as “bath salts,” “plant food,” “Ivory Wave,” and “White Lightning,” are now felonies and can be punishable by up to five years in prison.

(Other authorities, I should add — the Navy, for instance — had already banned Spice.)

In early May, it appears the first person in Kitsap — a 24-year-old Poulsbo man — was charged with having Space.

“Not positive Josh,” wrote back Kevin Kelly, the deputy prosecutor who charged the case, “But it is the first time I have charged it so I think chances are good that it is.”

Here’s what happened: Kitsap County sheriff’s deputies were called to the Suquamish Clearwater Casino in the early morning hours of May 5 for the report of a man seen using a narcotics pipe. Surveillance video showed him using the pipe, which was glass and “multi-colored,” sheriff’s reports of the incident said.

While he denied having a pipe at first, a deputy saw a something in his front left pocket “weighing it down.”

The deputy said it didn’t smell like marijuana and asked the man what kind of tobacco he smoked.

“He thought for a minute and then told me that it was not tobacco but that it was ‘spice,'” deputies wrote.

In his pocket, deputies found a container that had “quality potpourri,” written on it. It was cotton candy flavor.

The man said he’d gotten it at a store in Poulsbo. He was arrested.

The deputy who drove him to jail said the Poulsbo man “was asking the same questions over and over again.”

“He seemed to be very impaired and altered,” the deputy wrote in his report.

He was booked into the Kitsap County jail for possession of the drug and charged with the same crime the next day by prosecutors.

28 thoughts on “‘Spice,’ ‘K2,’ synthetic cannabis — by any name, now a felony

  1. people need to get a life. what they should do is outlaw alcohol. that causes more problems than weed.

  2. Of course it is probably not wise to use “Spice.” However, a felony? This young man and others could use help not punishment. Oh well I guess the police, prosecutor, court and jail industry needed more business. Your tax dollars at waste.

  3. I’m sorry for having to disagree with charging this as a FELONY when the REAL cannabis (less than 40 grams) is only a misdemeanor. It’s only a felony is it’s more than 40 grams and/or intent to deliver. I would never use and/or possess it myself especially while the FEDS are still criminalizing cannabis/marijuana. I’m a child of the 60’s (born in the late 40’s) so pot was plentiful back then. Actually, I believe pot/marijuana/cannabis should be legalized and hope they would be able to test for a level soon. It does tend to mellow some out and make one a bit sleepy so I can see a bit of danger there while driving but most of my friends just laid back and mellowed out instead of driving after smoking way back in the “good old days”.

  4. Kat, so what? Do you see drugs replacing alcohol anytime soon? If not, why make *any* dangerous drug more acceptable? It can only *add* to the tragedy of drug/alcohol addiction

    My dear friend is addicted to prescription drugs, has been for over 15 years. Do you somehow think, since these are not as destructive as booze, the drugs should be legal to sell to anyone, including children?


  5. Legalize all drugs AGAIN. Do it now!
    Drugs are a health problem, not criminal. Legalize and the criminals are no longer such, prisons dry up, locks on doors are no longer needed and the drug wars stop. Did I miss something? Oh yeah, the huge mega profits made by keeping them illegal. No, not by the pushers who would be out of business of course, but by the pharmaceuticals companies and the Criminal Justice System. You know that system, right? The third largest industry in America? Follow the money.

    Oh, the arrest, as described by the reporter did not have probable cause. That means it was invalid and cannot be convicted. Of course that’s only what’s given to us by the Sun.

    1. ss427 — please tell me where the probable cause is lacking. I’m happy to share info if you think I missed something.

  6. How about cracking down on the stores that are still selling this garbage? I watched two older teenagers buying those products just a couple weeks ago at a local convenience store.

  7. @Sharon – you are spot on – this should not be a felony. If anyone should be locked up, it should be those that have propagated the lies of prohibition. Prohibition is what causes the organized crime that threatens our public safety, and creates a lucrative environment that endangers our children, betrays trust between the public and law enforcement, and leads to more corruption.

    If prohibition on marijuana never existed, there would have never been a need to create a synthetic substance, that is far more harmful than cannabis ever could be. This is where prohibitionist thinking gets us. It is a war on people, a war on a plant. There is mass profiteering to keep prohibition in place, from the military industrial complex, to the fossil fuel industry, cotton, timber, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and tobacco, to name a few…

  8. The title of this article is misleading. The man at the casino was never charged with a felony.

    Spice or “Potpurri” as its labeled is legal when it is used in the manner intended. It also says “not for human consumption”

    1. Do you know something I don’t know? The prosecutor’s office filed this case as felony possession. Let me know if that has been changed. Thanks!

  9. This newer synthetic drug has been proven to be dangerous.It should not be confused with marijuana. This synthetic drug has psychological effects that marijuana does not, and has been outlawed in many military towns. In my opinion, they should be after the convenience stores and gas stations primarily, who are in the business of distributing spice, and focusing more on education to the public.

  10. This stuff is available over the counter at the local head shops. So why is it a felony? Seems like overkill by the prosecutor.

  11. @Josh – I only meant to point out the irony that Spice carries a harsher penalty than the medicinal herb it was designed to simulate. It is in fact a class C felony, since it was placed as schedule 1 on our state’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Here is the link to the actual order:

    Small amounts of marijuana was a felony at one time too, until penalties were reduced to a misdemeanor under RCW 69.50.4014 for up to 40 grams. Since a similar rule was not applied to synthetic marijuana, the felony rules apply.

  12. * for some reason, the URL in my previous post did not show…

    @ss427 – Probable cause will need to be established, but it won’t likely be in favor of the defendant. See RCW 10.31.100 ” Any police officer having probable cause to believe that a person has committed or is committing a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor, involving… the use or possession of cannabis…” Since surveillance cameras captured what looked like possible marijuana use, the investigating officers had probable cause. Of course, this is for a court of law to judge, not us.

  13. I have read a lot of news articles now where people using spice or bath salts have done extremely violent and bizarre things. It affects the brain in a different way than pot or alcohol, it can make people very dangerous. I think it is good that it’s a felony, as hopefully it will discourage people from using it, but I don’t know how much reasoning ability the people who use such things have to begin with.

  14. It’s a felony cause spice has killed people and it is a dangerous processed drug from china with poor quality control. Cannabis isn’t dangerous and should be legal

  15. The issue is complex looking at the big picture. Keep the community safe .. Even from themselves!
    First take the money from legal pot and apply it to education and community rehab programs.
    Second continue to arrest and prosecute the sellers and distributors to the fullest extent the law will allow.

    These people selling this stuff with many labels are only looking at making money at the expense of society. That is a parasitic way of doing any business.

    As to the county, well until Mr. R H, will still only know one tool and that is the one of the impersonal legal system.

    We don’t want to pay for community programs, this is all he has left to work with.

    Fix the first two and the rest can benefit.
    There is a program in place for medical pot, now just develop the program….

  16. The young man was charged and is still being charged with a felony. He was also charged with a felony escape from community custody due to being on probation. But his p.o. obviously didn’t think it was too bad to only give him 3 day’s in jail. That sounds more fitting than up to 5 years. So much money being wasted. Wake up tax payers. This waste is happening x a million daily.

  17. This is new to me , did not realize spice was this popular. With the availability of pot being so easily had , seems strange unless you were concerned of being drug tested for pot why anyone would use this ? Sounds somewhat dangerous compared to pot also because of the chemical aspect .

    Wonder why the penalty is so high ?

  18. I want to thank you all for the additional information on “spice”, “K2”, etc. I now realize why it is a felony. The term “synthetic marijuana” is very misleading. I learned something from all this now to impart some of that to my grandchildren etc.

  19. Here’s the deal. I get suppliers calling me about this stuff all the time at work. Spice, K2, and more than a dozen other brand name incense. Are all actully normal herbs like sage, daminia and wild lettuce. where it gets wierd is the companies were then spraying a chemical on these plants such as jwh-018 and a list of other letter number combos. and the chemical on it is what was making people “high/ sick”. When the ban went into effect the companies have suposedly removed all the banned chemicals and send lab test with all the new samples to prove they don’t have the banned stuff in them. legal smoking blends and herbs are not illegal its the chemicals that were on them. what got taken from him should be tested for the chemicals and if there not there techenicaly i don’t think its illegal then. It’s a good thing they banned these chemicals as people were ingesting them without any testing or knowlege from anywhere. And i’m not sure what the companies are doing to it now but i wouldn’t take my chances.

  20. They call it kidnapp county for a reason……………And there gonna keep the prosecution numbers up even though he bought it leagally!!

  21. The first time I heard the term “kidnap county” was in reference to CPS removing children from homes just because the parents smoked pot. These parents were good parents except that they smoked marijuana. Their kids were clean, well fed and their house was clean. They had good jobs but were caught with pot because they had their windows open one night. That’s what I associate the term with. They even referred to “kidnap county” on the news in South Carolina once while I was there visiting.

  22. Cannibal Attack Possibly Prompted By ‘Bath Salts’
    Miami police say face-eating attack similar to other “bath salts” incidents.

  23. FYI – people keep confusing “bath salts” with synthetic pot (spice/K2). The only thing they have in common are both are synthetic drugs. Bath salts are an amphetamine similar to meth. When you hear of people going crazy, it’s on bath salts, not spice. (who knows why this particular kid was acting weird) Spice is smoked, it’s a chemically treated herb/plant. Bath salts are snorted like meth.

    Spice has actually been around since the 70s. It only got popular recently as an alternative to pot since it was cheap and didn’t show on drug tests.

    Spice is NOT pot though. It can give you increased heartrate and has symptoms of withdrawal when you stop using it. There have been rare cases of deaths where it is suspected. Pot has none of that. It isn’t healthy. Pot is nearly harmless other than making you lazy.

    Bath salts however (White Lightning/etc) is TERRIBLE for you. It is supposedly synthetic cocaine. This is the synthetic drug that is killing people and causing people to act erratically. It is very similar to meth in all ways. It can/will kill you. Even real cocaine is safer than bath salts. (not condoning it, it’s bad for you and highly addictive, just pointing that out)

    If you are going to vilify something, at least people should know what they’re talking about. Spice is bad, but bath salts is the killer.

    Legalizing pot will happen someday. De-criminalizing other drugs may happen too (though I’m not as comfortable with that notion). We will look back at this era with disgust at how much money was wasted on the complete and utter failure that is the war on drugs.

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