New York, NY — State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito and other elected leaders thanked Craigslist for immediately responding to their request to remove classifieds from their website that advertised the drug, K2.
“As we fight against the K2 epidemic in New York State, Craigslist’s immediate response to remove K2 classifieds helps us ensure that there’s one less source where people can score this dangerous drug. I thank Craigslist for immediately jumping into action when we brought this issue to their attention. Backpage and eBay must adhere to their own policies and yank ads and auctions for K2 and K2 paraphernalia from their sites as well,” said Senator Klein.
“I’m happy to learn that Craigslist has agreed to voluntarily take down K2 advertisements sold over their website which have aided in the sale and distribution of this highly addictive and illegal drug,” said Council Speaker Mark-Viverito. “This is a plague that targets kids and our most vulnerable New Yorkers. I commend Craigslist for understanding the severity of the situation and I’m hopeful other internet sites will follow suit.”
On Thursday, the Office of Senator Klein released, “The Online Smoke Shop: Buying K2 Online,” an investigative report detailing unscrupulous ways that direct dealers used major sites like eBay, Craigslist and Backpage to sell K2 and K2 paraphernalia.
Using keywords like, “K2 Spice,” “herbal incense,” and “herbal potpourri,” ads popped up on local New York classifieds listed in Craigslist and Backpage. On Backpage, one dealer even posted a cell phone number.
National auction website eBay hosted sales for pre-branded, empty K2 bags that claimed the bulk item was for storing coins, crafts and jewelry.
Senator Klein and Speaker Mark-Viverito, along with Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and City Council Members Ritchie Torres, Dan Garodnick and Ruben Wills, sent letters to eBay, Backpage and Craigslist on Thursday.
Craigslist responded in an email that the posts were removed from their public listings.
“Although it should have never have been permitted in the first place, I applaud and thank Craigslist for taking quick action after we brought it to their attention to remove all K2 paraphernalia and merchandise from their listings. I urge eBay and the other websites to follow suit in this manner,” said Assemblyman Gjonaj.
“I commend Craigslist on taking swift action to remove K2 from its website and setting an example for other online retailers who have no business selling dangerous drugs,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres. “K2 has taken a serious toll on our communities and we will continue to take every measure to keep it off the streets.”
“Craigslist is doing the right thing,” said Council Member Garodnick, “and we need other websites like eBay and Backpage to join us in our work to get K2 out of cyberspace and off the streets.”
“No reputable company would risk the safety of its consumers and jeopardize its own interests by enabling dangerous synthetic drugs to be advertised and sold in its marketplaces. By removing K2 ads from its website, Craigslist has shown its commitment to sound business practices that will help to prevent shoppers from being exposed to this hazardous drug, and deny sellers a pipeline to peddle their product. EBay, Backpage, and other companies must now follow suit and demonstrate that same commitment,” said Council Member Ruben Wills.