Two 19-year-olds from Lincoln County are among the first people to be arrested under a state ban on K2 incense synthetic marijuana that took effect June 1. The young couple called 9-1-1 over the weekend to report an overdose. They told police they’d been smoking synthetic marijuana they bought at a unidentified store in Cornelius.
If they’d made the call last month, they wouldn’t have ended up in jail because “It was totally legal to possess it up until June 1st,” notes Lincoln County Sheriff David Carpenter. “Our hands were tied.” Synthetic marijuana sold as incense under names like Spice or K2 incense is now illegal to make, sell or possess. So is a substance called MDPV which is marketed as bath salts and gives a cocaine-like high. The drugs have resulted in hundreds of calls to Carolinas Poison Control and 9-1-1 centers. In the few weeks since the North Carolina ban took effect, just a handful of arrests have been reported. There was a shop owner in Brunswick County, a store clerk in Lenoir County and a man pulled over in Richmond County with vials of bath salts in his car. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have not made any arrests under the ban. Lincoln County Sheriff David Carpenter says he’s glad for the new law, but isn’t making a special effort to nab violators. “It’s been by chance that we’ve come upon it,” says Carpenter. “But we’ve also received some complaints from the citizens and we are actively seeking those establishments to charge those individuals with selling this illegal substance.” The two 19-year-olds arrested for possession in Lincoln County are due in court July 13 on misdemeanor charges. Selling synthetic drugs like k2 incense in North Carolina is now a felony.