synthetic marijuana scares store owners from legal product


At Summit Party Store on North Main Street in Ann Arbor, liquor, beer and cigarettes are readily available to any customer with proper ID.

What you won’t find on the shelves, however, is a legal product that, unlike the aforementioned products, doesn’t even require a license to sell: synthetic marijuana.

“Why give yourself a headache when you don’t need one? Killing someone is going to give you a headache,” said an employee at Summit. He said the owners of the store have told him that Summit has never sold the product and never will. “Selling K2 isn’t going to get you rich, so why bother? It isn’t worth it.”

 

060512_NEWS_K2_MRM_03.JPGSynthetic marijuana, also known as K2, Spice, incense and potpourri, for sale at Bongz and Thongz on East Liberty Street on Tuesday. The product sells for about $10 to $20.

Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com

The employee declined to use his name, as did many other shop owners and employees at shops in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, whether they sell the product or not. 

As the negative reports surrounding synthetic marijuana — commonly referred to as incense, herbal, potpourri or by its most popular brand names K2 and Spice — continue to mount and Washtenaw County officials ask stores to stop selling it, no one seems to want to be attached to the product.

Many shops who used to carry the product no longer want to be attached to its sale, including Kampus Korner in Ypsilanti.

“I don’t know if we can get it back with all of the negative publicity,” said an employee, who declined to give his name.

Some shops simply don’t want the clientele the product attracts. Patti King, manager of 42 Degrees, a smoke shop on East William Street in downtown Ann Arbor, described the people who normally come in asking for synthetic marijuana as “cracked out.”

Not carrying the product has been good for customer relations, said a manager at a Sunoco Station in Ypsilanti.

“Lately I’ve been having very happy customers that we don’t sell it. . . . They come here once in a while talking about it because it’s on the news. They’re very happy to see that we don’t carry that stuff,” the manager said.

Bongz & Thongz in downtown Ann Arbor and Ethnospot are two known downtown Ann Arbor stores that continue to sell synthetic marijuana. Multiple attempts to reach store owners and/or managers were unsuccessful.

Negative stigma or not, other places still carry it as well.

“We’ve been selling (synthetic marijuana) for like three or four months,” said Kamao Singh, an employee at a Citco gas station in Ypsilanti. “We haven’t seen that many people come in for it.

“In a week you’ll get about one or two people that come in who are interested in it.”

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