No one was arrested, but Carthage police seized approximately 220 packets of what police said was K2, a synthetic cannabinoid similar to marijuana, in a raid on a convenience store on Tuesday.
Carthage Police Chief Greg Dagnan said the owner of the store at the corner of Oak and Baker streets, recently renamed the Bengal Mart, was at the store when investigators served a search warrant at 1:34 p.m. on Tuesday.
Police said in a written release that the warrant was obtained after "a lengthy investigation revealed the possibility that the store was selling K2 or artificial cannabinoids."
"We seized some cash, which I really don't want to reveal how much yet," Dagnan said after Tuesday's Carthage City Council meeting. "We seized a suspected gambling device, one of those machines where you sit down and you put in money and it gives you product, but it does have a cash payout. We called the state gaming division and they believe it is an illegal gaming device so we seized it. We seized around 220 packets of K2."
Dagnan said no one was arrested and investigators plan to submit their investigation to the Jasper County Prosecutor who will decide whether charges will be filed.
Dagnan said the store owner was free to reopen after police left, but the store was closed Tuesday evening and the owner's name was not listed in the Carthage phone book.
Missouri lawmakers outlawed K2 in August 2010, making it a class A misdemeanor to possess 35 grams or less of the synthetic marijuana and a class C felony to have more than 35 grams.
The law carries the same penalties as possession of marijuana.
The state said K2 is a mixture of dried herbs that is sprayed with a synthetic substance similar to the active ingredient in marijuana. It is often sold as incense at convenience stores, smoke shops and other retailers.
"K2 has been associated with serious health risks such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, vomiting, hallucinations, tremors and possibly seizures," said Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon in 2010 when he signed the bill outlawing the substance. "Most alarming is that health care providers and poison control centers are seeing increased use of K2 by children. It is unsafe and has serious potential for abuse, especially by children. Missouri is helping lead the way by taking a stand against this drug."
Under state law, K2 was added to the list of controlled substances under Schedule I. Those substances are classified as having a high potential for abuse and having no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or lacking accepted safe use in treatment under medical supervision.