Mr. Smiley frowned upon by Knox City Council

KNOX — The legality of the sale of K-2, a synthetic equivalent of the controlled substance marijuana, was brought into question at the Knox City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 26. Jennie Carter, Coalition Coordinator of Drug and Tobacco Free Starke County, presented an ordinance that would prohibit the sale of the drug, also referred to as Mr. Smiley or Spice, in the city of Knox. Carter, along with Sheriff Oscar Cowen, also brought the issue before the Starke County Commissioners at their last meeting.
Prohibition of Mr. Smiley is becoming increasingly common. Allen, Porter, Tippecanoe, and LaPorte counties have already banned the sale of the drug, with St. Joseph County in the process of doing so also. Currently, there are no businesses in Starke County that are selling Mr. Smiley, and this ordinance will ensure that doesn’t change by fining businesses with K-2 on their shelves $250 per day.
Mr. Smiley is referred to as a “synthetic cannabinoid,” which is a substance that closely mimics the effects of marijuana but is not considered to be the same drug. There has been no conclusive research on the long-term effects of K-2, which is currently legal for sale, even to minors, in many Indiana counties.
“It (Mr. Smiley) can be smoked and gives the user the same effects as marijuana. The city wants to be proactive in protecting our kids and stop the sale of this substance before it gets a foothold in our city,” said Mayor Rick Chambers.
“It can be considered a gateway drug,” said Jennie Carter. “And it is frightening that kids can buy it.”
The ordinance regarding K-2 will be discussed further at the next city council meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 9.
Other matters discussed included the purchase of a new fire truck for the station. Currently, the two trucks in use are a 1980 model and a 1990 model. The new truck would replace the 1980 model currently in use — the maintenance and upkeep of which is becoming increasingly expensive: Between two and $3000 were spent on truck maintenance last year alone.
“I think it’s definitely needed,” said Fire Chief Ken Pfost. “I think it would serve us much better.”
The new truck will carry 25 percent more water than the 1980 model, and will also be able to safely transport six firemen, and their equipment, as opposed to the 1980 model which can only carry two. It will also have a built-in generator to support the equipment. The truck is estimated to cost around $500,000.
“The council has put off this purchase till this year — until the last fire truck purchase was paid for this past August. The new bond will be paid off in six years and we are working with the Center Township trustee to pay 1/3 of the bond,” Mayor Rick Chambers said.
A yard sale ordinance was also passed, which eliminated the need for people in the two-mile jurisdiction to purchase permits for yard sales. As it stands, only citizens of Knox are required to obtain permits for yard sales. The prices have not changed.