Local businesses speak out against K2 sales - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Local businesses speak out against K2 sales

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PEORIA COUNTY, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

Nearly 90 cases of severe bleeding are now reported in Illinois-- all related to the use of synthetic cannabinoid products, including two deaths. 

Central Illinois leads the state with 45 reports between Peoria, Tazewell and McLean counties. That number includes new injuries reported Thursday. 

Where are these victims getting the product since it's been illegal to sell for years?

Since 2011 the selling of K2 or spice has been illegal. Recently, however, we've seen a spike in users of these dangerous synthetics. 

It had us wondering if shops around the area are still selling despite the risk of legal action.

25 News stopped by the Co-Op shop in East Peoria where they said they do not sell it and advise anyone who is to stop.

We then headed to the Shell gas station in East Peoria. The worker, who was fairly new to the place, told us they didn't sell K2 and spice. 

Then we drove to Excessive Colors in Peoria. The owner said she sold this dangerous synthetic for a year or two when it was legal. 

"The reason is, we were selling before because on the package it said it was legal," said owner Raghed Rustom. 

Rustom said police marched into the store calling the product illegal and threatened to close the place down. 

 "...and arrest you...and we thought, 'okay, that is it,'" added Rustom. 

Rustom said any respectable business would have stopped selling when it became outlawed. 

"I found out what it does. We actually tried to tell people not to do it because it's actually very bad for your health," stated Rustom. 

The synthetic can cause side effects like strokes, anxiety and convulsions. At the worst, it can cause severe bleeding. 

A small number of people come into Rustom's store asking if she sells it. 

We then headed to the Smokers Shop Outlet in West Peoria. They said they didn't have what we were asking for. 

25 News made one last stop at a store called Smoking Pleasure By Work and they said they strictly sold just cigars, tobacco and cigarettes. 

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