SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Santa Clara County announced it will begin collecting information on the sale and recreational use of nitrous oxide canisters known as “whip-its” in an effort to stop shops from selling the drug to customers.
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously accepted a report with options for regulating the sale and availability of nitrous oxide in the County’s jurisdiction.
The County said it will work with the City of San Jose to share information and develop strategies to resolve the issue.
“There is no legitimate reason for smoke shops or vape shops to be selling handfuls of whippets to customers,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez who asked for options to resolve the problem after hearing concerns in many communities particularly the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association.
Nitrous Oxide is often illegally used recreationally — known as “Whip-its,” “Noz,” or “N2O,” which provides users a short burst of euphoria but can become addictive.
Its recreational use has been linked to deaths in the U.S. as far back as the 1990s.
Recently, the drug was connected to the 2020 death of Zappos founder and venture capitalist Tony Hsieh.
While the use of nitrous oxide as a recreational drug is a misdemeanor in California punishable by up to six months in jail — the sale of nitrous oxide canisters is not regulated in Santa Clara County.
Reports reveal that the canisters can be easily purchased in many smoke and vape shops throughout the county.