NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A representative of a bodegas association said Monday that merchants who sell K2, or synthetic marijuana, in their stores should be shut down.

Last week, law enforcement officials said they found 70 bodegas and delis selling K2. Now, the Bodega Owners Association said 1,700 bodegas in the Bronx have pledged not to sell K2.

The drug is also known as synthetic marijuana, but has unpredictable and dangerous side effects.

Ramon Murphy represents bodegas, said draconian action is the best option if a bodega is caught selling K2.

“They have to close the store, because giving a fine, that’s nothing,” he said.

Murphy said there was nothing to stop bodega owners from going back to selling the drug after paying the fine.

WEB EXTRA: What is K2? 5 Facts About Synthetic Marijuana

Currently, the sale of K2 is not illegal in New York City, and selling or manufacturing the drug is only a health-code violation in New York state, punishable by a $250 fine.

But state Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-The Bronx) has proposed three bills that would criminalize the sale.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said K2, also known as “spice,” has been flooding the streets, harming teenagers in public housing and the homeless in city shelters in particular.

One Wednesday, officials announced the unsealing of a federal indictment against 10 manufacturers and distributors in a massive distribution ring in all five boroughs.

Law enforcement was investigating the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars from the United States to Yemen when the NYPD noticed a lot of K2 being sold out of bodegas and delis owned by Yemeni immigrants, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported. That’s when the drug investigation was launched.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called it the single largest law enforcement action ever in New York City to combat the spice problem.


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