The Illinois Senate has passed tougher penalties for K2 possession in an attempt to stem the current epidemic of synthetic cannabinoid overdoses.
Senate Bill 2341 would add all synthetic cannabinoids to the Controlled Substances Act and make them subject to emergency controlled substance scheduling. Manufacturers would be subject to a class 3 felony charge, while simple possession would be punishable with a class 4 felony count.
“We can’t afford to be stuck in a cycle of reacting to these irresponsible and deadly chemistry experiments,” state Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) said. “We must act now to stop future deaths.”
Since March, the synthetic cannabinoids have led to severe bleeding incidents and four deaths. Three of those deaths happened in Central Illinois, and one in the Chicago area. There have been 164 bleeding cases reported statewide total, including 49 in Tazewell County, 35 in Peoria County, and seven in Woodford County. Mason and Fulton have seen 2 cases each, and McLean and Stark have both seen one.
Ninety-nine percent of bleeding cases nationwide have happened in Illinois, the Centers for Disease Control reports.