photo: via

A packet of K2, “Spice” or synthetic marijuana can be purchased for as little as $4.99 in several corner stores and delis in Bushwick and throughout the City.  The drug is often sold in bright colored packaging featuring smiley faces and cartoon characters who appear to be happily high but the actual consumption of the drug is unpredictable and dangerous.

K2, which is marketed as an incense and marked “Not for Human Consumption,” has caused several deaths in NYC and sent hundreds of consumers to emergency rooms. People losing consciousness in the middle of the street due to the K2 consumption have been said to be a common sight on Myrtle Broadway.

All photos by Katarina Hybenova for Bushwick Daily

“The amount of people coming to emergency rooms with problems associated with smoking K2 has sky rocketted,” Deputy Inspector Maximo A. Tolentino from NYPD’s 83rd Precinct told us.

K2 is illegal, but the overseas manufacturers and distributors exploit legal loopholes to keep the product on the street.

“We have one particular spot here right across the street that is causing us a lot of troubles,” continued Deputy Tolentino pointing towards intersection of Myrtle Ave and Broadway. “Some of the businesses that sell it don’t really understand what the consequences of this drug are. Some businesses would rather make a dollar from the sale but we really hope that things are going to change with the new rules.”

K2 is currently banned under New York State Health Code Violations and someone possessing or selling the substance can receive summons and face a $500 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

Last month, however, the City Council enacted a bill that will make selling K2 a misdemeanor in the city. The mayor has said he will sign the act.

Myrtle Broadway by KHybenova-2

“K2, synthetic marijuana has hit us hard here on Myrtle Broadway,” said Councilman Antonio Reynoso this morning at a press conference called to recognize a targeted effort currently underway to improve conditions at the intersection of Broadway and Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick.

Reynoso informed the public that his office was able to get several city agencies, community residents as well as small businesses in the area to come together and make sure that the area around Myrtle Broadway J,M,Z subway stop can become the commerce corridor that Bushwick can be proud of as opposed to being an eyesore.

Reynoso praised several city agencies including Department of Transportation, which installed LED lights on Broadway, and repainted crosswalks at the sometimes haphazard intersection.

NYPD has done two busts in local delis on Myrtle Broadway recently, which have been selling K2. Similarly, this past Tuesday at 5:30PM, NYPD has stopped 21-year old Familia Rikiell who was smoking K2 on Palmetto St near Bushwick Ave. When the police searched the man they found a loaded firearm in his backpack.

Department of Sanitation (DSNY), Department of Transportation (DOT), MTA New York City Transit, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), Department of Homeless Services; the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce; community groups Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation, Common Ground, and ACE have been among those recognized by Antonio Reynoso for their contribution to beautification and improvement of Myrtle Broadway area in Bushwick.