Synthetic drugs, real effects


Aurora protest targets ‘synthetic marijuana’

Karen Dobner lays the blame on synthetic marijuana, which is created by mixing herbs with various chemicals to mimic the effect of marijuana. The substance can cause palpitations, vomiting and seizures and bring on panic, paranoia and hallucinations, experts say.

“I am trying to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. I want to prevent more tragedies,” said Dobner, who created an organization called “To The Maximus Foundation” to advocate the ban of the substances. Dobner said the group is planning more protests at different shops in the near future.

Holding signs stating “Fake Pot Kills” and “Boycott This Store,” a group of about 15 people protested in front of an Aurora store Saturday, exhorting passers-by to be aware of the dangers of smoking so-called synthetic marijuana.

Leading the protest outside Cigarettes Hut on Galena Boulevard was Aurora resident Karen Dobner, whose 19-year-old son Max died June 14 after reportedly smoking the substance, usually marketed as herbal incense or potpourri. Max blew through a stop sign, sent his car airborne and crashed into a house in North Aurora. No one else was injured.

Inside the store, however, co-owner Mittal Patel said she understood the protesters’ motives but was angry about what she saw as interference with her business. “Everybody sells it because it’s legal,” Patel said. “It is wrong for (Dobner) to try to kill my business.”

The Aurora City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a proposal to ban the sale of synthetic drugs, said Mayor Tom Weisner, who took part in Saturday’s protest. Weisner said he expected the measure to be approved unanimously. “There are people who are willing to make a profit at the cost of lives,” he said. “We will enforce the ordinance to the maximum.”

Herbal incense sold under the brand names Spice and K2 will be banned in Illinois beginning Jan. 1. An effort led by House Republican Leader Tom Cross to ban all similar products is expected to kick off shortly, said state Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia of Aurora, who showed up in support of the protesters. Chapa LaVia said she is working on launching an educational campaign aimed at PTO and PTA organizations.

As protesters chanted outside, Cigarette Hut customer Shirley Shepard of Aurora said individuals are responsible for their own actions. “He was the one who bought it,” she said. “Parents can’t treat their children like they are kids all their life.”

But protester Karen Rizzo of Bloomingdale said synthetic marijuana can make people incoherent, as it did her 23-year-old son, Michael, in an incident in late July.

Rizzo said she stayed in the house to watch over her son for 18 hours until he was back to normal. “I know drunk, I know high, but this was something I have never seen,” Rizzo said. “He didn’t know anything.”


  1. There needs to be a medical study on this right away! What in the world are they waiting for, how many people have to be affected by something that can be banned so easily.

  2. Have you guys tried it yet? I am in the military (airforce) and alot of us that used to smoke before selling our asses to uncle sam smoke it now pretty regularly. Its really as dangerous as anything that a person could have a bad reaction too. everybody knows that guy who smoked that one time and got all weird and had anout of body experience or something. Point its pretty cool. Even if some people cant handle it.

  3. Mayor Tom Weisner states in this article “There are people who are willing to make a profit at the cost of lives” — Isn’t that what the DEA does everyday?? Our Drug War is a money hungry machine offering job security to countless agencies, prisons, and private corporations, while criminalizing something that is everyone’s First Amendment Right.

    This mother protesting against a convenience store that simply sells what everyone else is selling (b/c it is NOT illegal – yet) is directing her anger at the wrong target.

    She should be using this tragedy as an opportunity to educate other teens instead of trying to put a small business out of business. (how does that help the economy by the way?)

    We don’t have to personally like K2, or Spice, or anything else. It’s supposed to be our personal choice what we like and don’t like. What we choose to put into our bodies or not.

    The Canadian Government is seriously considering a ban on cinnamon citing its DANGERS. How badly do want your Government telling you want you can and cannot consume? If we continually allow the government to say what can and cannot be consumed, we are allowing the police state to grow and grow. Stop being sheeple. Stand up and defend your rights to FREEDOM, LIBERTY, and most importantly: The PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. If that pursuit includes K2, or Marijuana, or Cocaine, or cinnamon, or anything else, that is YOUR CHOICE. Or at least it’s supposed to be.

    Let’s try to stay focused on the fact that our Governments are trying to essentially CRIMINALIZE EVERYTHING. This needs to stop. Fear mongering is exactly what they did to make marijuana illegal. You don’t have to like it. But no one deserves to go to jail for it either.

    The real criminals are those that perpetuate this civil war: the Drug War. Until the Drug War Criminals are brought to trial, we are all victims of this useless attack on peaceful citizens of this “free” nation.

    That boy’s death is so sad and a tragedy – but when will we stop being a country of “Blame thy Neighbor” and instead be a country of personal accountability instead?

    That mother most likely never talked to her son about driving and drugs and how to safely hallucinate, etc.

    Kids are going to seek the ultimate high. It’s human nature. We can run from that truth and try to outlaw everything under the sun, or we can face up to that fact of life, and be responsible parents and citizens that understand the only one to blame – is ourselves.

    We are responsible for our actions and no one else. (Unless there’s a gun to your head of course).

  4. Lawmakers are in the process of closing any loopholes that currently exist with laws pertaining to some herbal incense products, but there efforts will prove to be fruitless in the end. The prohibition of marijuana has created this demand for legal marijuana alternatives. A rather prosperous niche that will be tapped into for as long as marijuana continues to be illegal. There are many places one may still buy k2 incense and according to the vendors, the k2 herb products they sell are legal everywhere.