OCEAN CITY — Despite the
fact that K-2 has essentially disappeared from Boardwalk store shelves, the
Ocean City Mayor and Council voted to ban the substance for good on Monday.
With the memory of last
summer’s proliferation and eventual ban of the psychoactive plant Salvia
Divinorum still lingering, Councilwoman Margaret Pillas pushed for a ban of
K-2, a concoction of herbs and spices that are sprayed with synthetic
cannabinoids (most notably JWH-018), which mimics the effects of cannabis or
“Last year, we promised
that we would ban whatever substance came out this year that was similar to
Salvia,” said Pillas. “We knew something would come out and it did, so I think
we need to stay true to our promise and add K-2 to our list [of banned
substances in Ocean City].”
Early in the summer
season after it was reported that some of the same Boardwalk stores that were
found to be selling Salvia to their customers were now selling K-2, which has
been banned in several states and has recently been put on the DEA’s “drug of
concern” list, Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino instructed her
officers to implore the merchants to take the product off the shelves.
Within weeks, DiPino
said the shelves were cleared of the product, which has been said to have a
higher potency than marijuana.
“After we sent a letter
to the owners and asked them to remove it from the shelves, they complied with
our request and as far as I’ve been told, it has disappeared from the store’s
shelves,” said DiPino in an interview in late June.
Still, the council
believed that putting the herb on the town’s banned substance list was vital,
despite its essential disappearance.
“This council definitely
made the right move with banning Salvia last year, and in anticipation of the
next step, I support the council’s decision to be proactive and ban K-2”, said
Mayor Rick Meehan. “The good news is
that no one is reportedly selling the product anymore, but now they can’t.”
The lone “nay” vote in the
decision to ban the substance came from Councilman Joe Hall, who also voted
against the ban of Salvia last summer. Hall said that he believed that the ban
should come from the state level.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m
against Salvia and I’m against the selling of this K-2 stuff as well, but I
just believe that this isn’t something that we need to be determining to be
legal or illegal,” said Hall.
As he had done in last
year’s debate, Councilman Doug Cymek tried to coerce Hall into voting to ban
the substance, citing the aforementioned addition of K-2 to the DEA’s “drug of
concern” list and the alleged potency of the product.
“Joe, in hopes of
swaying your decision on this, I would just like to tell you that [K-2] is in
the same category as Salvia, and they say that it’s way more potent, so I would
ask you to change your mind on this,” said Cymek.
City Solicitor Guy Ayres
said in a previous interview the council must add new substances individually
when they come to light, as the town’s ordinance that was created last summer
to ban Salvia, was specific only to Salvia.
K-2, also known as Spice
(which is named after the mountain K2 in Pakistan, which is the second only to
Mount Everest as the highest mountain in the world), was banned in Kansas and
Kentucky and its prohibition is pending in several other states, including
Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri.
Five other states,
including New York and New Jersey, are also considering a similar ban of the
“We know there will be
other products like it in the future,” said Meehan, “but I think it’s good that
this council is willing to act quickly on whatever winds up on the shelves of
our Boardwalk stores.”