A package of synthetic cannabinoid seized by the DEA
A package of synthetic cannabinoid seized by the DEAJamie Chung for TIME

Sold openly in stores, popular with kids and unpredictably dangerous, synthetic pot is just around the corner

The most complicated drug problem in the world right now isn’t meth or cocaine or or heroin. It is synthetic drugs, also known as legal highs or designer drugs. Five years ago, these substances were virtually unheard of. Now, say drug monitors and law-enforcement officials, they are spreading to eager buyers everywhere at an unprecedented speed.

With street names like K2 and Spice, these substances are widely available, sold openly in stores with little fear of prosecution. Faced with their rapid proliferation, legislators are looking for ways to respond.

Mixed by chemists in labs, mostly in Asia, synthetics are chemical compounds designed to mimic the effects of naturally occurring drugs like marijuana and cocaine while staying just inside the law. Because the newest compounds don’t yet appear on state and federal lists of illegal drugs, the sellers can market them as legal. As soon as authorities add a compound to the prohibited list, the chemists tweak the formula—ever so slightly—to make a new substance that purports to be legal.

This appears in the April 21, 2014 issue of TIME.

Other News Articles 


Capitol press release concerning SB058, easing regulations for permanent handicapped parking.


May 28, 2013: The Gazette released an article following Representative Landgraf's town hall on May 27th at the Fountain Senior Center. The town hall focused on a legislative update concerning second amendment rights.


From the Gazette: A week and a half ago, there wasn’t a single person running for House District 21, which, under the newly drawn legislative maps, covers the southwestern border of El Paso County. (The incumbent, Colorado Springs Republican Rep. Bob Gardner, has been pushed into HD 20, where he’s running unopposed.) But two days ago, a pair of Republicans filed with the secretary of state, creating the  FOURTH primary in El Paso County’s 13 legislative districts.


One, Lois Landgraf, is a former city councilwoman from Fountain.


From the Independent: Republican Lois Landgraf, former Fountain councilwoman, announces today that she will be seeking the District 21 seat in the state House. The district lies south of the Springs, and includes the areas in and surrounding Fountain, Fort Carson and Security-Widefield.