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Synthetic marijauna "K2" creating local problems

There's a new drug causing problems in Rochester — and it's legal.

The synthetic form of cannabis (the drug found in marijuana) is called K2 or "spice."

The drug has begun to cause enough problems for the Rochester Fire Department that officials have begun to take notice.

"It's becoming increasingly popular," said Assistant Fire Marshal Larry Mueller.

Within the past two days, Mueller said, firefighters have responded to two incidents involving the drug, including a small fire and a medical incident.


The drug, sold over the counter, can raise blood pressure and cause seizures, Mueller said.

"These products are sold as incense. The labels claim it is not for human consumption, but users know what they are purchasing. Users light up these concoctions and smoke them in a pipe just as they would marijuana," says " Minnesota Medicine ," the journal of the Minnesota Medical Association.

Other states have banned the sale of K2, Mueller said, but "it is legal right now in Minnesota."

According to the Minnesota Medical Association, nine states have banned K2, and Minnesota is among the states "attempting to do so."

"In Minnesota, the Hennepin Regional Poison Center documented 16 cases between January and July of 2010. Half of the reports came from health care facilities; the patients ranged in age from 14 to 43 years. A number of people who have presented to emergency departments after using K2 or similar products have experienced high blood pressure, nausea, and an increased heart rate. Several have reported tremors as well," the Medical Association journal says.

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