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US House Votes to Ban New Synthetic Drugs

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #713)
Politics & Advocacy

The House of Representatives voted last Thursday to pass HR 1254, the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011, which would criminalize not only synthetic stimulants ("bath salts"), but also synthetic cannabinoids ("fake pot") marketed under names such as "K2" and "Spice."

Spice and other synthetic cannabinoids and stimulants will be banned under the bill passed by the House (
The bill passed on a roll call vote of 317-98. Sixteen Republicans joined with 82 Democrats to vote against the prohibitionist measure.

At least 40 states have passed bans on the new synthetic drugs, and the DEA has placed both fake pot and bath salts under emergency bans. The bill would make both sets of substances Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act, which would pose substantial impediments to researching them. Scientists have warned Congress that placing the synthetic drugs under Schedule I will have a chilling effect on ongoing efforts to explore treatments for a range of diseases and disorders.

Under the bill, prison sentences of up to 20 years could be imposed for the distribution of even small quantities of the new synthetics.

Seeking some small solace in the wake of the vote, Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance, which had lobbied to defeat the bill, said it was "significant" that nearly a hundred members of the House had broken with drug war orthodoxy to vote against the bill.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Burnt scientist (not verified)

Banning synthetic cannabinoids is going to have a major impact on researchers studying the human endogenous cannabinoid system. Synthetic cannabinoids are major research tools to study the endocannabinoid system for pharmaceutical drug development and fundamental biomedical research. Literally hundreds of researchers career's and research projects are going to stagnate as a result of this law. Scientists who never had to get DEA licenses before now will go through a tedious and long process seeking approval to study substances which could be denied by the DEA for any reason they want. This is a serious blow to the medical and scientific community.

This is what happens when politicians are scientifically illiterate.

Fri, 12/09/2011 - 12:24pm Permalink
terry nichols (not verified)

In reply to by Burnt scientist (not verified)

We do not need this stuff on our streets where our kids can purchase. These are dangerous drugs and they need regulated and/or banned.

Wed, 02/01/2012 - 5:55pm Permalink
Anonymou (not verified)

Everyone should print this out and send it to their elected representatives

Thu, 12/15/2011 - 12:18pm Permalink
kickback (not verified)

Why use synthetics when you can have the real thing ? I`d rather have my THC come from a plant instead of a chemistry lab . Legal Cannabis will put these folks out of business . Some retailers of this stuff even charge cocaine prices for it . See ya.....

Fri, 12/09/2011 - 5:14pm Permalink

"Burnt Scientist" makes a good point that these synthetic cannabinoids are currently the only way to do legitimate endocannabinoid research. HOWEVER, that doesnt mean it should be sold in smoke shops, this stuff can really be bad for you! Deaths and brain damages in teens have already been linked to this stuff and even if those are just coincidental I still don't believe that smoking this s&^% can be good for you at all.

Truth is weed is still illegal (BOO!) which means that many teens are scared to try it because they're afraid they will be caught by the cops or even fired from jobs when they test positive. So they are driven to try this stupid "Spice" so they can see what it is like. That's not good people!

If anything they should be encouraged to try the real NATURAL herbs, but because they're scared of getting in trouble and we have literally no drug education in this country, they have to put this crap in their bodies. 


DOWN WITH SPICE, but please legalize the REAL herbs!! 

Wed, 12/14/2011 - 10:04pm Permalink
Anonimos (not verified)

In reply to by prez420 (not verified)

where is your evidence?  Linked to?  how long have you been reading STDW....?

Yeah, there were dozens of deaths in the UK 'linked' to mephedrone when it was legal because people took it and died at some point later..  AFAIK, around 2 were proven to be actual overdose incidents... following that logic, we should ban chocolate and peanuts..  the media will link drugs to anything they can for the shock factor.  Cops will link anyone they can to drug use because it makes their jobs lucrative and easy.


that's like saying there are millions of violent crimes each year Linked to drinking water..  it's sad that there are some places in the world where this is actually the case, but, in the usa noone fights over bottled drinking water, but


everyone who's ever committed a violent crime drinks water



You are subscribing to and even contributing to the  unfounded fear without intricate knowledge...  people like you are why alchohol and tobacco are legal and pot isn't.

Thu, 12/15/2011 - 12:44pm Permalink
Anonimos (not verified)

In reply to by Anonimos (not verified)

you even say it in so many words, your last sentence-


Prohibit and lock up people for what I don't like, but make what I like legal..  Make sure noone ever has any choice but mine.


if they discovered a synthetic compound that was proven to be a million times safer than thc, would your mind change? that's what I thought.

Thu, 12/15/2011 - 12:48pm Permalink

The prevalence of and popularity of Spice (type) smoking goods is entirely predicated by, and a product of, a failed drug policy that wouldn't know unintended consequences or harm minimisation if it fell over it.

It is criminal the government even ascribes to any form of harm reduction as a policy. The prohibitors stole the language and defined the politics by obfuscation and fostering moral panic. All for a good cause they say....

Thu, 12/15/2011 - 7:03am Permalink
Anonimos (not verified)

"DOWN WITH SPICE, but please legalize the REAL herbs!! "


change your mind or get out.

"prohibit and lock up people for what I don't like, and legalize what I do.  Make sure noone ever has any choice but mine".


sound familiar?..  unless you have a degree in neurochemistry, or do personal studies of these things (which it sounds an awful lot like you don't) and are speaking from personal scientific knowledge, your opinions do nothing but contribute to the stigmata that the whole industry gathers.  Yeah- Ban *some* synthetic pot, so that natural plants are still illegal, but plenty will be left for big Pharma.  Federal Analog Laws apply in reverse too.  Please have a better understanding of what you advocate before trying to be a contributor.  that's like the senate making chemical legislation where 99% have no comprehension at all of science or engineering.   where propaganda and the allmighty dollar rules. 



You, My (?)friend, are a prohibitionist. 



Thu, 12/15/2011 - 1:01pm Permalink

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