STODDARD COUNTY, MO (KFVS/AP) - Stoddard County authorities seized thousands of dollars worth of synthetic drugs from convenience stores Thursday morning.
Police say it's because synthetic drugs have become such a problem in the county.
Sheriff Carl Hefner says he's arrested drug users who say they've gotten the same high from synthetics as the actual drugs.
K-2 and bath salts are common synthetic drugs, but Thursday, authorities seized thousands of dollars worth of synthetic THC, which gives users the same high as marijuana.
Five convenience stores in the county had what prosecutor Russ Oliver calls analog drugs.
Analog drugs are synthetics that have similar chemical composition and effects of illegal drugs.
Oliver says analog drugs have been illegal in Missouri since the 1970s.
One example is Bocomo, a self proclaimed incense which sells for $20 for three grams.
It says, "Not for human consumption," on the bag, but Oliver says users smoke the substance for a marijuana-like high.
Hefner and Oliver say analogs like Bocomo will no longer be on the streets of Stoddard County.
"We're going to try to be the leader in getting these synthetic drugs off the market," Hefner said.
"We cast a wide net," said Oliver. "We collected a lot of evidence today that will hopefully lead us back to the distributors that are selling this to our kids and neighbors, creating a real problem in Stoddard County."
Oliver said he doesn't plan to file charges against the convenience store owners because they didn't know about the statute.
He's looking to prosecute the distributors. The investigation into where they are located is ongoing.
For the second time in as many years, Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation outlawing the sale of synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of cocaine and marijuana.
The bill signed Thursday by Nixon takes aim at products often marketed as bath salts, incense or spices.
Last year, Nixon signed legislation banning one type of synthetic marijuana called spice cannabinoids (kah-NA'-bih-noydz), which are sprayed on plants and often sold under the name "K2."
But other forms of synthetic marijuana with different chemical formulas quickly went on the market.
The governor says this year's legislation should apply to those products, as well as any derivative of the drugs that is developed in the future.
Drug bill is HB641