County's K2 ban another 'solution' where no problem exists

February 26, 2010

Pettis County leaping to the front to ban the herbal mix known as K2 is eerily reminiscent of the Sedalia City Council acting in August to eradicate any possibility of adult businesses setting up shop within Sedalia’s limits.

In both cases, government leaders chose to extend the reach of the nanny state and provide a solution where there was no discernible problem. Is this really what we want from government?

As reported by The Democrat’s Courtney Hudson, Pettis County officials offered the following reasoning for banning K2, which contains synthetic cannabinoids and, when smoked, produces a high similar to marijuana:

• “We’re hoping to get out in front of this.”

• “We believe this has the potential to be a hazardous substance.”

• “Its effects are not completely known.”

Nothing concrete in any of those statements — certainly nothing that would merit Pettis County playing the “we know better than you do” card, since K2 remains legal everywhere else in Missouri. Just like Sedalia’s over-the-top restrictions on adult businesses (there are none here, there are no plans for any here, but the council nonetheless approved intensely restrictive zoning to “protect the community” just in case), the K2 ordinance seems like another example of government throwing a dart with the hopes that eventually someone will put a target in its path.

To date, as noted above, K2 is legal everywhere else in Missouri. That said, Rep. Ward Franz, R-West Plains, and Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, have filed legislation that would make K2 and similar substances illegal statewide.

Comedian Dennis Miller once wrote: “I’m not pro-drug, they obviously cause a lot of damage, but I am pro-logic and you’re never going to stop the human need for release through altered consciousness. The government can take away all the drugs in the world and people will just spin around on their lawn until they fall down and see God.”

Since no hard evidence has been provided to indicate that K2 is causing a public safety problem — Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Mittelhauser said he had heard reports of people ending up unconscious after using K2 — this comes off as another case of legislating morality. With this mindset holding firm locally, we advise that you don’t start spinning around on your lawn; that practice will end up being illegal before you can fall down.