Moorhead, Minn., bans fake potCass County is once again putting the kibosh on K2 and other brands of synthetic marijuana. Police and prosecutors, who stopped enforcing an emergency statewide ban on the substance last month after a judge ruled the public wasn’t properly notified of it, are expected to resume arrests and prosecutions when the final rule is published today.
By: By Mike Nowatzki, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
Cass County is once again putting the kibosh on K2 and other brands of synthetic marijuana.
Police and prosecutors, who stopped enforcing an emergency statewide ban on the substance last month after a judge ruled the public wasn’t properly notified of it, are expected to resume arrests and prosecutions when the final rule is published today.
“Now, anybody who wants to prosecute anybody as a result of the rule certainly should be in good shape,” said Howard C. Anderson Jr., executive director of the state Board of Pharmacy, which passed the emergency rule Feb. 25.
The board and attorney general’s office believed the public was properly notified of the rule.
But Cass County District Court Judge Wickham Corwin dismissed two synthetic marijuana court cases in early September, ruling that the board didn’t comply with state law that requires agencies to “take appropriate measures to make interim final rules known to every person who may be affected by them.”
Deferring to Corwin’s ruling, Cass County State’s Attorney Birch Burdick dismissed all pending synthetic marijuana cases.
The Legislature’s Administrative Rules Committee considered the rule Sept. 14 and took no action on it, which essentially affirmed it retroactive to its Feb. 25 creation. The Legislative Council will publish it today, making it final, Anderson said.
With the rule’s publication, Cass County prosecutions will resume, Assistant State’s Attorney Gary Euren said Thursday.
In what may or may not have been a coincidence, Moorhead police said “numerous” packages of synthetic marijuana were stolen during a smash-and-grab burglary Thursday at Mellow Mood.
The front door was smashed at 4:22 a.m. to gain entrance to the store at 409 Main Ave., Lt. Tory Jacobson said.
Jacobson said he couldn’t say how many people were involved or how many packages of synthetic marijuana were stolen.
“I just know there were packs enough that they dropped them as they were leaving,” he said, noting packages were found in the parking lot.
Synthetic marijuana is chemically enhanced herbal incense sold under several name brands, K2 and Spice being among the most popular.
The incense is sprayed with JWH-018, a chemical that when smoked is said to mimic the effects of marijuana’s active ingredient, THC.
A 3-gram pouch of the incense can cost $50.
Synthetic marijuana is legal in Minnesota, though a lawmaker from Newport, Minn., has said she plans to introduce a law next session to ban it. In late August, Duluth became the first Minnesota city to outlaw the drug.
In another K2-related incident, West Fargo police said a 17-year-old driver who was high on K2 struck a pole just before midnight Wednesday.
Lt. Duane Sall said the boy was “pretty well gone” and didn’t realize he had hit anything. The boy was referred to juvenile court, and police are recommending charges of driving under the influence and leaving an accident scene.
The teen reportedly was having trouble breathing, which authorities said is among the health risks of synthetic marijuana, others being anxiousness, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, tremors and hallucinations.
Mike Nowatzki is a reporter
at The Forum of Fargo-
Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.