A community's drumbeat against K2

Published On: Jun 06 2012 02:42:00 PM EDT
DETROIT -

The drumbeat against K2 exploded three days ago, and yet there in the BP gas stations's entrance, was a 31-flavor display.  Right in the heart of Livonia. It's the first thing to catch your eye. A case full of the phony potpourri.  The charade was never more evident.  The drug was surrounded by pipes and bongs of all shapes and sizes.  With a name like "Killer Zombie" it's clearly not something mom is going to ask you to pick up to grace the powder room for visitors.

The display couldn't have been more brazen or more eye-catching for the kids who are smoking this junk. We took some surreptitious video of the showcase, with intentions of returning early this morning to challenge the owner.

Really?

The poisonous consequences of this poorly classified "synthetic marijuana" have been known for two years or more.  But following the Cipriano murders and the vivid illustration of how violent K-2's users can become, how could anyone with a shred of conscience still market this in our community?

Sure, the neighborhood spice concession yields $10k in profits every month. Sure, it's legal.  But do these business owners really think their freshly enlightened patrons aren't aware, and won't resent them peddling this poison a quick bike ride from schools?  Aren't the potential losses greater than the wicked windfall?

Twelve hours after I discovered the herbal marijuana motherlode, we sent an intern in, to make a buy, and confront owners/operators about why they persist.

Imagine my surprise when our crew called to say, that while the pipes were still for sale, the bogus Pot-Pourri was nowhere to be found. In a "better late, than never" change of heart, owners woke up, smelled the real potpourri and decided an outraged public was more frightening than the prospect of losing super-sized profits.

In the interim, Wayne County authorized a ban, and BP threatened its franchise holders with loss of their lucrative franchise rights.  

Wouldn't be nice if we could get this kind of rapid resolution to face other community scourges?

Today it's easier to find someone who has CLIMBED K-2 than someone who is selling it.

It's a testament to smart advocacy journalism on the part of Local 4 Defender Kevin Dietz and colleagues, a motivated band of viewers thoughtfully channeling their outrage by calling police departments and elected officials, and those same officials taking effective action.

I can't ever remember our community so successfully confronting a social problem and virtually eradicating it in such a short time.  It's a reminder of the media's power to inform, and the public's power to use that information to make society better.

What should we work on next?

SPECIAL COVERAGE:Fighting the K2 Epidemic 

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