CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) — Officials say a synthetic drug is being sold at some stores and gas stations in low-income neighborhoods, despite the fact that it’s extremely dangerous and has been illegal since 2012.

West Side State Rep. LaShawn Ford is joining health officials and others calling for a crackdown on K2, a synthetic form of marijuana.

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“It’s cheaper than marijuana and it has a stronger impact on the person’s mental state, and so K2 is what it’s called,” Ford said.

He said some users become violent.

It’s a felony to sell the drug. But that hasn’t stopped some stores and gas stations on the West Side, and elsewhere, from doing that. He and health officials are appealing for them to stop.

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“Once we come together as a community and let the stores know that they are being watched, hopefully that will deter their willingness to sell this illegal substance to teenagers and families in our communities,” Ford said.

Ford added that he hopes the public pressure, and tips, will persuade local merchants not to sell K2 under the counter.

“It’s an underground synthetic drug that’s being sold in predominantly black communities, and it’s causing a lot of violence in our streets,” he said.

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He hopes stores that do sell the drug can be shut down.