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DEA Bans Synthetic Marijuana

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced Wednesday that it is issuing an emergency ban on five chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana products. The ban will go into effect in 30 days and will at least temporarily place the chemicals on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

Banned in 30 days (Image courtesy Wikimedia)
Marketed as incense and sold under names including Spice and K2, the stuff has grown increasingly popular since it first appeared on store shelves around two years ago. Spurred on by prohibitionist reflex, as well as reports of emergency room visits and calls to poison centers, 15 states have already banned synthetic pot products. Similar legislation is pending in several more. Last week, powerful Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) wrote a letter to the DEA seeking a federal ban.

The ban announced Wednesday is temporary and will be in effect for one year, with the possibility of a six-month extension. During that period, DEA and the Department of Health and Human Services will decide whether the substances should be permanently controlled. 

“The American public looks to the DEA to protect its children and communities from those who would exploit them for their own gain,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart. “Makers of these harmful products mislead their customers into thinking that ‘fake pot’ is a harmless alternative to illegal drugs, but that is not the case. Today’s action will call further attention to the risks of ingesting unknown compounds and will hopefully take away any incentive to try these products.”

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) was quick to criticize the DEA's move. "The DEA says that prohibiting synthetic marijuana will 'control' it – yet we know from history that prohibition is the complete opposite of drug control," said DPA spokesman Tony Newman in a Wednesday press release. "DPA is advocating for establishing regulatory restrictions, such as age limits and product labeling requirements, rather than banning it outright and relegating it to the black market."

Despite approximately 2,000 poison control center contacts from synthetic pot users complaining of a variety of symptoms including nausea, rapid heartbeat, and disorientation, DPA noted that there are no known cases of fatal synthetic pot overdoses and that there is no evidence the stuff is addictive.

"Scheduling [synthetic marijuana] as a controlled substance will have unintended detrimental consequences," DPA warned. "If K2 were banned outright, young adults could face immediate, devastating and life-long legal barriers to education, employment, voting and government benefits for K2-related drug law violations, despite a lack of evidence of harm to themselves or others. The use of scarce government funds to enforce, prosecute and incarcerate people who use K2 would put a strain on criminal justice resources."

Washington, DC
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Yes, sneak a ban during the holiday travel time

K2 is so terrible that sellers can't keep up with the demand.  It's ironic that you need reams of evidence to legalize a substance, but such a burden of proof is not needed to ban it.  The news media can go to some Phoenix House treatment facilities to find the most weak-minded youth to testify against K2 and that's taken as the Gospel... What a witch trial!   Where's the movement's Clarence Darrow to fight against such capricious policymaking influenced by politicians working for the alcohol industry. 

"Despite approximately 2,000 poison control center contacts from synthetic pot users complaining of a variety of symptoms including nausea, rapid heartbeat, and disorientation, DPA noted that there are no known cases of fatal synthetic pot overdoses and that there is no evidence the stuff is addictive."

No shit, we have an epidemic of hypochondriacs who are not familiar with the effects.  The following is a prime example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHTzpXyXO-4

The DEA has no power to make

The DEA has no power to make policy, they can only enforce the laws passed by Congress. This is a clear violation of the Constitution and I hope it becomes grounds for many lawsuits which ultimately mark the end to the terrorizing of the American people by a fascist and corrupt government.

borden's picture

Unfortunately the Controlled

Unfortunately the Controlled Substances Act, passed by Congress, gives DEA the power to add new drugs to the banned categories.

the CSA may violate separation of powers...

the CSA gives the DEA the power to legislate by decree.. while some may argue that the constitution expressly relegates lawmaking power to congress and the courts...but good luck trying sell that to the SCOTUS...

People are so stupid. There

People are so stupid. There are so many types of synthetic cannabinoids out there. It's pretty easy for someone to change the chemical structure a little bit and avoid the bans. Plus, it's expensive and hard for authorities to test synthetic cannabinoids, so I doubt this ban will do anything besides introduce more harmful versions of JWH-018 and JWH-073. They didn't even ban JWH-017. I've smoked pure 18 and it's a full agonist for both CB1 and CB2 receptors, which means it's a lot more harmful than cannabis and about 5 times more powerful than THC. I don't recommend anyone use these synthetics, they can really mess your mind up fast if you don't watch it. I can't claim it causes long-term damage, but it's VERY EASY to overdose when using the powder. Overdosing can mess with your breathing, heart rate, and short term memory. I also found that it can cause unwanted anxiety flashbacks days and weeks after use which suck. The message here is that cannabis needs to be legalized so this market for synthetics can dry up. Cannabis is a safe substance to use responsibly. I think it's possible to use these synthetics responsibly, but they are no alternative to cannabis, and most use them because they can't use cannabis. I've never heard someone say they like synthetics better real cannabis.  

thanks

Nice comments thanks for sharing.

THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT K2 / SPICE / and the DEA;

THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT K2 / SPICE / and the DEA; now that the feds. have equated k2 / spice with marijuana, they have handed us the MOST POWERFULL arguement to use against them, so far. we just say; -yes, k2 / spice is just like marijuana, THEREFORE, WE HAVE HAD; -FULLY LEGAL MARIJUANA- IN ALL 50 STATES, -AND THE SKY DID NOT FALL !! MILLIONS OF PEOPLE DID NOT GET ADDICTED. SOCIETY DID NOT END. THERE WERE NOT MILLIONS OF CAR CRASHES. THERE WERE NOT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE GOING TO WORK STONED / SMOKING AT WORK, CAUSING ACCIDENTS AND FATALITIES. ALL THE PREDICTED DOOM AND GLOOM AND ANARCHY, NEVER HAPPENED !! LIFE WENT ON, EXACTLY AS BEFORE !! -and except for LEGAL AGE REQUIREMENTS, it was FULLY LEGAL !! JUST LIKE WITH ALCOHOL, IF YOU ARE CLEARLY OVER AGE, THERE IS NO NEED TO SHOW ANY I.D. AT ALL !! JUST LIKE WITH tobacco and prescription pills, it is LEGAL TO DRIVE AFTER SMOKING K2 /SPICE !! (intoxication is what matters, not zero tolerance) NO DATABASES REQUIRED FOR SMOKERS !! NO SEARCHES AND SEIZURES, BECAUSE IT IS LEGAL !! NO ARRESTS, BECAUSE IT IS LEGAL !! NO ONE OUNCE LIMITS, OR ONE POUND LIMITS, NO LIMITS OF ANY KIND !! NO ONE BEING PISS TESTED, OR DENIED EMPLOYMENT !! NO EXTREME SECURITY REQUIREMENTS for sellers !! NO SPECIAL LICENCES / PERMITS / FEES REQUIRED for sellers !! NO SPECIAL 'DRUG-FREE' ZONES AROUND SCHOOLS, PARKS, PLAYGROUNDS !! NO SPECIAL I.D. CARDS OR FINGERPRINTING FOR SMOKERS !! NO SPECIALTAXES; SALES TAXES COLLECTED WERE THE SAME AS ANY OTHER TAXABLE PRODUCT !! JUST LIKE tobacco and alcohol, IT WAS NOT ON THE 'SCHEDULE' SYSTEM; not schedule 1, or 2, or 3, or 4, or 5. CAN USE FOR RECREATIONAL USE !! CAN USE FOR MEDICAL USE !! CAN USE FOR RELIGIOUS USE !! it was FULLY LEGAL, AND THE SKY DID NOT FALL !! THEREFORE, IF WE FULLY LEGALIZE REAL MARIJUANA, THE SKY WILL NOT FALL !! SO; that's EXACTLY what we need to shoot for. MAKE MARIJUANA TOTALLY, COMPLETELY, FULLY, 100 % LEGAL !! (for adults)

Spice is "not for human

Spice is "not for human consumption" it is incense. If the buyer decides to disobey and mis use the product that is his own decision. 

 

its like banning paint or glue because someone likes to huff.

the best idea is to ban spice, and legalize thc :)

Not banned yet as far as I know

"Because the Deputy Administrator finds that it is necessary to
temporarily place these synthetic cannabinoids into Schedule I to avoid
an imminent hazard to the public safety, the final order, if issued,
will be effective on the date of publication of the order in the
Federal Register.

 ." http://frwebgate2.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/TEXTgate.cgi?WAISdocID=7UETGG/0/1/0&WAISaction=retrieve  

""""

I haven't seen a Final Rule published in the Federal Register. Order = Rule in this context is my understanding of the Administrative Procedure Act and the Notice of Intent specifically states "the final order, if issued, will be effective on the date of publication of the order in the Federal Register ."

If I'm mistaken about this, please explain why briefly and cite sources.

Additionally, the notice may have been invalid which I've posted something about elsewhere on the site commenting on news of litigation related to the proposed ban. Not that I'd count on either matter preventing or significantly delaying a ban no matter how much merit they may have. 21 USC 811(h) itself appears invalid to me but it's been used many times. Indeed, the CSA's scheduling system appears unconstitutional to me on grounds I don't believe the courts have ruled on but I'm not holding my breath until DEA or the Supreme Court announces agreement.

it will help

I think if Marijuana is legalized it will Help America with debt issues.To be honest alcohol is the one that should be outlawed. Look at all the car accidents.It's a safe plant that I personally think should be legal and a lot of older adults that DO NOT use it think the same.Its natural it's a plant Leave It be.Is corn gonna be Illegal next??__ Who knows....

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