SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The synthetic marijuana known as K2 and other names is illegal, but that's not stopping crafty manufacturers from skirting Missouri's laws.
"They come up with a different type of drug or a different way of packaging it or a different way of presenting it ," said Police Chief Paul Williams.
All the substances have to be tested at the state crime lab to see if they fit under the current laws of banned drugs. Williams said it's a tedious process that's creating a backlog at the lab.
"Three, four, five, six months, where it starts causing some concern, because maybe the case is progressing and you have to dismiss it because the lab isn't back yet," said Williams.
That's not the only issue. If findings determine the drugs are even slightly altered from the list of illegal chemicals, the case is likely dropped.
"We wouldn't be able to charge them with a crime. As I said, you can only charge someone with possession of a controlled substance or distribution if it falls within the schedule of controlled substances," said Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson.
To combat the problem, the prosecuting attorney would like the crime lab to test for analog drugs -- drugs that are modified slightly so they don't test as a specific controlled substance, but have the same effects as banned drugs.
"There is a statute that allows to prosecute a case where you take a known drug and you alter that just slightly, but it has the same effects on the body, and it has the same basic chemical makeup and we can prosecute those. The reason we're not doing that now is because our lab currently doesn't have the training to allow them to do that," said Patterson.
Patterson said more funding is necessary in order to get the training needed to handle analog cases.