Police in Kansas and Missouri are making a surge of synthetic marijuana busts after lawmakers banned the herb-based product that was once sold openly in coffeehouses, gas stations, and convenience stores, reports the Associated Press. In Kansas City, police reported that investigators recovered more than 12 pounds of the substance during an early August violent-crime initiative. The Kansas City Star reported that an earlier raid yielded 10,000 packets of synthetic pot, each weighing 3 to 5 grams. And a citizen complaint recently led to the seizure of 1,000 grams at a retail establishment.
“We're just raking it in,” Kansas City police Sgt. Brad Dumit said. “We're seeing it all over the place.” Police and public health experts say users seeking the more benign high associated with marijuana may be unprepared for the synthetic version, most commonly known as K2 or K3. Users describe a more intense but shorter high, with effects lasting about 20 minutes as opposed to several hours. Lawmakers in both Kansas and Missouri last year outlawed chemicals used to produce it. Synthetic pot proliferated after slight variations were made to its chemical makeup that weren't covered by the law. “It's hard to stay ahead of designer drugs,” said Kansas state Sen. Vicki Schmidt. “People designing them can be very creative.”