News outlets are reporting the tragic death of a thirteen-year-old boy in Pennsylvania named Brandon Rice. We’ve reported on Brandon’s story earlier this year, so imagine our surprise when we see the following headline from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Medical marijuana? For those of you who missed the initial reporting of Brandon’s story, it was reported that the teen had smoked K2 brand incense sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids through a plastic PEZ dispenser!
The AP, reposted by Huffington Post, reports that the boy had received a double lung transplant, but succumbed to his injuries this morning.
The boy smoked the fake marijuana out of a plastic PEZ candy dispenser. The chemicals in the drugs caused extensive damage to his lungs. Brandon was put on a respirator in June and had a double lung transplant in September.
So, we’re to assume here it was the K2 that scarred the boys lungs and not the freakin’ fumes from the melting plastic of a PEZ dispenser?!? When my post on K2 has garnered over 230 comments from K2 users who had bad experiences, yet not one has died or has scarred lungs requiring a double transplant?
InvestmentWatch continues the demonization of the synthetic cannabinoids, not the plastic:
Tonya Rice told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper Brandon was put on a respirator in June after smoking Spice fake cannabis, which is said to be ten times more dangerous than cocaine.
Who said that? Because we have some fairly good statistics on deaths from cocaine overdose:
A recent study conducted by doctors at the Forensic Pathology Service at the Institute of Legal Medicine (Seville, Spain) and published in the European Heart Journal shows that more than 3% of all sudden deaths that occurred in south-west Spain were attributed to cocaine usage.
Not to be cruel or insensitive about the boy’s death, but he didn’t suddenly die from the acute effects of K2 use. He used it in June, fell very ill, was given a double lung transplant, and died from an infection because of his lowered immune system in October. So, to compare, we have cocaine, which can give you a heart attack by overdose and kill you the minute you snort / smoke / inject it, versus a synthetic cannabinoid smoked through plastic, requiring a double lung transplant, leading to a fatal infection four months later in the hospital that kills one boy. We’re not trying to say K2 is safe – it isn’t – but it’s not “ten times more dangerous than cocaine”.
The only reasons this K2/Spice shit even exists on store shelves is because (1) the adults who want real cannabis that has never killed anyone or scarred anyone’s lungs aren’t allowed to have it and (2) the adults who get the real cannabis anyway are piss tested for it. The only reason anyone would smoke anything through a Pez dispenser is because some states, like Pennsylvania, make such draconian paraphernalia laws against glass / wood / stone pipes.
Brandon’s parents, however, didn’t see the fact that prohibition led to these circumstances, and instead have been fighting for even more prohibitions:
Since Brandon’s hospitalization, the Rice family has spoken out about the drug which damaged their son’s lungs — with brand names such as K2, Spice, Blaze, Ivory Wave, White Rush, Starry Nights and Vanilla Sky — in hopes that other children will not be harmed.
A bill to ban sale of synthetic marijuana in Pennsylvania was signed June 28, just weeks after the Southmoreland eighth-grader was placed on a respirator. More than 30 other states have also banned the drug and others are considering it.
For everyone who screams “What About The Children?!?” when we bring up marijuana legalization, for everyone who worries that legal pot would mean teenage boys would have greater access to pot, ask yourself if you’d rather be a mom or dad chewing your kid out when you find his pipe and stash of natural cannabis, or if you’d rather be a mom or dad planning your kid’s funeral because he tried a more dangerous way of getting a marijuana high? Because banning K2, Spice, Blaze, Ivory Wave, White Rush, Starry Nights and Vanilla Sky isn’t going to work; it will just lead to newer versions of synthetic cannabinoids that aren’t banned (didn’t the seven brand names I just listed give you that clue?)
Finally, if you really believe that a prohibition will be the best way to protect your children’s lungs, I don’t understand why the parents aren’t marshaling resources to prohibit Marlboro, Camel, Pall Mall, Kool, Virginia Slims, Lucky Strike, and Winston?
Still, the story is a sad one and we do mourn the loss of a anyone’s child. We don’t advocate children doing drugs, period, except for medical reasons (and even then we think some of those are over-prescribed… Ritalin, we’re looking your way…) But it wasn’t synthetic pot that killed Brandon Rice and it was prohibition of cannabis that brought him synthetic pot.
Donations can still be made in Brandon’s memory to any PNC Bank branch location using account number 6006292603 or mailed to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, 2501 West COTA Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403.
Checks or money orders should be made payable to COTA, with “In Honor of Brandon R.” written on the memo line of the check.
Secure credit card donations are also accepted online at www.COTAforBrandonR.com