"Spice" is a synthetic form of marijuana that was available at many stores across West Michigan.
(Detroit Free Press) -- The Michigan State Police announced Thursday that troopers have visited more than 3,500 retail stores statewide since late June in an effort to raise awareness that it is illegal to buy, sell or possess K2 or other synthetic drugs.
Although most retailers were in compliance with the law, approximately 140 cases across the state are pending further investigation, according to a news release.
In one case, a detective received a tip about synthetic drugs being sold at a retail store in Menominee County, the release said. Four employees were arrested, and nearly 600 packets of synthetic drugs were confiscated.
In another instance, an employee of a retail store in Crawford County proactively called a state police narcotics team to turn over a quantity of synthetic drugs being sold after the law had taken effect.
Despite state and federal bans that took effect this month, the drugs -- often marketed as herbal incense or bath salts that mimic highs from cocaine, marijuana and LSD -- remain available in some convenience stores, smoke shops and online, according to authorities.
On Wednesday, police and federal agents raided dozens of businesses suspected of selling synthetic drugs in nearly 100 cities during the first nationwide crackdown. The Detroit DEA was not part of that, officials said.
"There is nothing OK, legal or safe about synthetic drugs like K2, and the Michigan State Police is taking a zero tolerance approach to enforcement," Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police, said in a release. "While those who choose to break the law can expect enforcement action, we are pleased to report that the majority of businesses are true partners in this effort and chose to comply voluntarily."
Anyone who suspects a retailer is selling K2 or bath salts is encouraged to report it by calling the MSP tip line at 1-855-MICH-TIP (642-4847). For more information on the law and the drugs, visit www.michigan.gov/DesignerDrugs.
By Detroit Free Press Staff