Article Comment 

Columbus to consider synthetic-marijuana ban


Kristin Mamrack



The Columbus City Council Tuesday likely will be asked to consider banning the sale, possession and use of synthetic marijuana. 


About a dozen Mississippi cities and counties have taken steps to ban the sale of an herbal mixture product, which offers the same high as marijuana and is known by many names, including K2, Spice, Demon, Voodoo, Genie and Zohai. 


"I have heard of it," Ward 2 Councilman Joseph Mickens said of the synthetic marijuana. "As a council, we really haven''t discussed it yet. Personally, I would be in favor of a ban." 


Columbus Police Chief Joseph St. John Friday said he planned to ask, during a Tuesday council meeting, for a ban on the drug. 


"We haven''t had a big problem (with the drug), but why wait for it to be (a problem)," he said. 


"I would be in favor of a ban," Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box said. "It''s a synthetic marijuana and it''s very dangerous. I''ve read a little bit about it and it''s actually more dangerous than marijuana. It''s a hallucinogenic and pretty curious things happen when kids start taking it, so, yes, I would be in favor of banning it." 


"I haven''t heard of (the drug)," Ward 4 Councilman Fred Stewart said. "And I couldn''t say about a ban, but if it''s going to hurt somebody, I''m not in favor of (the drug), I know." 


"I have heard of it," said Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem. "No doubt, I would be in favor of a ban. With anything that impairs people''s mind, yeah, of course, I would be for a ban. Particularly with children, we have to be cognizant of it." 


"I would be in favor (of a ban); I certainly would," Vice Mayor and Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin said. "I understand that''s a drug similar to marijuana and marijuana is illegal. With what I know right now on it, I would support a ban." 


The synthetic marijuana mimics the effects of the active ingredient in marijuana -- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but it does not show up in drug tests as marijuana. 


Louisiana, Alabama and Arkansas have state laws banning the drug; the issue has been addressed or is pending in dozens of other states, including Mississippi. 


Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Executive Director Marshall Fisher said the MBN, in January, will ask lawmakers to make the synthetic marijuana a Schedule One drug with penalties on par with those for the sale and possession of marijuana. 


Marijuana falls under the list of Schedule One illegal drugs in state law, under which a first offender convicted of possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana could be sentenced to not more than three years of prison or fined not more than $3,000 or both. 


Penalties for larger amounts of the drug run from 20 to 30 years in prison with fines ranging from $5,000 to $1 million. 


Other local municipalities and counties also may consider a ban on synthetic marijuana. 


"If the sheriff''s office or narcotics people came to us and asked us to (ban it), I would assume the board would follow their request," said Lowndes County Board of Supervisors President and District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders. 


"It''s something we will be evaluating," Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said. "That''s all it is at this point in time." 


Mahyar Netadj, who works with the Oktibbeha County Sheriff''s Department''s drug unit, said he knows of places in Oktibbeha County where the herbal products are sold, but he couldn''t give exact locations. 


OCSD Chief Deputy George Carrithers said law enforcement officials have discussed synthetic marijuana. 


"It sounds like some pretty dangerous stuff," he said. 


But Oktibbeha County Administrator Don Posey said the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors has not discussed potential bans in the county. 


Starkville Dispatch reporter Tim Pratt contributed to this story, which also contains reporting from Jack Elliott Jr. of The Associated Press.




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Reader Comments

Article Comment plasticdeath commented at 8/2/2010 1:30:00 PM:

Hooray for the nanny state! Dangerous indeed!


Article Comment ryannelson commented at 8/2/2010 1:53:00 PM:

You wouldn't have a problem with REAL marijuana is you hadn't manufactured the problem yourselves.


Article Comment artvandelay commented at 8/2/2010 2:29:00 PM:

REAL marijuana isn't a problem, but living in a retirement community that has OLD elite hypocrites that find marijuana dangerous but don't have any problems paying their doctors to get their prescriptions for xanax, loritabs, valium, oxycontin, etc. is indeed a problem. Way to take another step backwards Columbus. The REAL war on drugs in this town should begin at the doctor's offices.


Article Comment wings commented at 8/2/2010 3:57:00 PM:

It seems that most of the council are saying that they are in favor of the ban because children could have access to it but the thing is, it's no different than buying cigarettes. You have to be 18 to buy it and at 18 you are considered a legal adult. It seems a bit contradictory to want to ban this synthetic marijuana just to keep it out of children's possession, when it is exactly the same case as beer and cigarettes.

Also, all packages of synthetic marijuana have a label stating, "Not for human consumption." How can a ban be put on this when it shouldn't be used for consumption anyways?

"It's a hallucinogenic and pretty curious things happen when kids start taking it, so, yes, I would be in favor of banning it."
-This is false, it has no hallucinogenic effect.


Article Comment lookout_its_chuck_norris commented at 8/2/2010 4:12:00 PM:

Absinthe is more hallucinogenic that this stuff but you can get that at most liquor stores in town. The fact is the city has no CLUE what this stuff is or does. They are just jumping on a bandwagon. Albeit smoking this "incense" is probably not a good idea.


Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 8/3/2010 8:13:00 AM:

Are you waiting for these hicks to find a clue? I hope you brought snacks.

For those who have forgotten where they are: this town is going to spend a fortune to repair a useless bridge. They are also saying they plan to divert police resources to guard this bridge so people can't jump off of it. I can certainly understand why someone would want to leap off a bridge after living here, but to create your own security problem and then divert resources to fix it is the sign of a mad man.

Maybe the council should consider smoking something instead of just acting like they did.


Article Comment ml2010 commented at 8/3/2010 9:09:00 AM:

You can get high off duster for computers also. Should we ban duster? If you inhale propellants or gas you get high, lets get rid of them both. This is so ridiculous. If you must have an ordinance on this issue make it illegal for anyone under 21 to posses.


Article Comment opinionerded commented at 8/3/2010 11:56:00 AM:

Personally I find these substances a wonderful substitute. However, legalizing cannabis would be much better than these marijuana alternatives that we don't know as much about. Legalize marijuana! Vote yes on Proposition 19. For more information on marijuana visit


Article Comment who cares commented at 8/3/2010 4:09:00 PM:

mite as well try to ban alchol also oh we cant take that away from our city council LOL!!!!!!!!!!


Article Comment trickid53 commented at 8/3/2010 6:38:00 PM:

Okay, look! It's a plant.. It just grows like that! NOW, if you "HAPPEN" to set it on fire, there might be some effects!


Article Comment commented at 8/4/2010 12:56:00 AM:

Chuck, Absinthe sold in the United States has no hallucinaginic properties. The Absinthe your referring to is available outside the US and is a hallucinagin due to the ingredient " wormwood ". They band the sell of Absinthe with wormwood in the US years ago. The Absinthe that is sold here IS still quite potent due to the high purity levels of alcohol but again no hallucination.


Article Comment lookout_its_chuck_norris commented at 8/4/2010 7:54:00 AM:

go to Mikes on 45.


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