As horror stories of the damaging effects of K2, or "synthetic marijuana," continue to proliferate around the city, some City Council members have voiced support for simply decriminalizing a substance known to have caused harm to virtually no users—regular, organic marijuana.

The council convened this morning to discuss a packet of bills that would crack down on retailers for selling the drug, which, though technically illegal in NYC, is considered only a health code violation that could potentially result in a $250 fine. The new legislation would punish retailers—principally, bodegas—that continue to peddle the substance, as well as penalize manufacturers who distribute it.

K2 is notoriously difficult to identify, thanks to its ever-evolving ingredient list and diverse range of effects. Rather than poking around the issue with legislation uncertain to yield real results, several council members advocated for the far more straightforward legalization of weed, thus reducing the market for a pernicious, chemical-laced substitute undetectable on drug tests.

"As a legislator, I am in favor of legalizing marijuana because it is a safe and natural substance, and legalization and regulation would further ensure its safe usage," Councilman Rafael Espinal said in his opening remarks. "While I understand that today’s hearing is not about the legalization of marijuana, I want to express my belief that legalizing marijuana would go a long way toward dissolving the K2 market."

Councilman Corey Johnson, a Manhattan democrat, agrees.

"I believe that part of the blame for the increase in the popularity of K2 and other smoke-able synthetics lies on our outdated marijuana laws," he said. "Some people smoke K2 to avoid a positive drug test result for marijuana—a much safer drug. This is another reason that we should be taxing and regulating marijuana, rather than criminalizing it and driving people to alternatives like K2."

There's plenty of research to back both council members' statements. John W. Huffman, the organic chemist who invented synthetic cannabinoids in the '80s for research, is a foremost proponent of legalizing weed—and a outspoken detractor of smoking his creation.

“I talked to a marijuana provider from California, a doctor, a physician,” Huffman told ABC News in 2011, “and he said that in California, that these things are not near the problem they are in the rest of the country simply because they can get marijuana… And marijuana is not nearly as dangerous as these compounds.”

“We declared marijuana illegal in 1937. Now that really did a lot of good to keep people from smoking marijuana, didn’t it? I think it should be legalized, it should be sold only to people 21 and older, it should be heavily, heavily taxed.”

That argument was swiftly shot down by Elizabeth Glazer, director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, who said decriminalization is "not something that the administration supports."

NYPD reps in attendance said the department was working to develop a training program for officers responding to K2 calls, including identification, treatment and enforcement. Asked by Public Safety Committee Chair Vanessa Gibbons whether those found to be on K2 would be charged with a crime, a lieutenant responded that each incident would be handled on a case-by-case basis.

"If the individual took some K2...and had nothing left, there would really be no other enforcement contact" after the user was treated, he said. In other cases? "If the individual had additional K2 that they had not ingested...they could be issued a summons." Robert Messner, the agency's assistant commissioner for the Civil Enforcement Unit, said that if a person is found with 10 or more packages of K2, it "creates a presumption" that they intend to sell.

The first bill proposed would prohibit the manufacture or sale of K2, with violators facing up to $5,000 in fines, a year in jail or both. The second bill would add synthetic drug violations to the list of violations that may be considered a "public nuisance," and the third would add the drug to a list of violations that would require the suspension of a retailer's license.

Last week, six men were arrested for their alleged involvement in a drug ring that distributed 260,000 packets of the drug to 70 bodegas across the city.