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"Bath Salts," Fake Marijuana Banned in Utah

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #673)

Utah has become the latest state to ban new synthetic drugs. Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed into law Friday HB 23, which bans both synthetic cannabinoids and mephedrone, or "synthetic cocaine." The "emergency" measure went into effect immediately upon being signed by the governor.

No more buzz from Spice or "Bath Salts" in the Beehive State (Image via Wikimedia)
Synthetic cannabinoids are typically marketed as incense under brand names including Spice and K2. They are currently banned in more than a dozen states, with action pending in others. The DEA attempted to implement a nationwide ban as of Christmas Eve, but was blocked by legal moves on the part of retailers' groups until Tuesday, when a federal ban went into effect.

Mephedrone, a derivative of methcathinone, the stimulant substance found in the khat plant, is commonly sold as "bath salts," under names like Ivory Wave. Users report that it has cocaine-like or amphetamine-like effects. It has also been banned in Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana. The DEA has not yet moved against mephedrone.

The Utah law criminalizes 17 synthetic chemicals, all synthetic cannabinoid or methcathinone variants. They now go on the state's list of controlled substances, and their possession, sale, or manufacture becomes a criminal offense.

Gov. Herbert said after signing the bill that he didn't expect that to be the end of it. "Things change," he said. "What we face today is different than 10 years ago, and I expect my grandchildren will face different situations in the future."

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.


sicntired (not verified)

I remember talking to a chemist friend back in the day and he told me that they could just keep tweaking the formula and creating new drugs every time the old ones were made illegal.I forget what class of drug we were discussing but it wouldn't surprise me if we see new incarnations of these drugs and soon.There might be a market for them as they exist but I doubt that anyone will sell them illegally,that was the whole point of their existence.The Governor sounded like he knew what they were doing was futile.Too bad he couldn't have put that insight into what he does.There's just no end to the stupidity of the drug warriors.

Sun, 02/27/2011 - 12:36am Permalink
Anonymousologist (not verified)

In reply to by sicntired (not verified)

This is true. Also the new variants that appear on the market are much less studied, some of the Spice synthetic cannabinoid ingredients were completely invented by manufacturers, with the structure deviating more and more from the families that used to be abused. The SAR for some of these new "-INACA" compounds is invented by Spice manufacturers. But have no fear, these are about to become illegal as well, and I will eat something much nastier than my hat if the market and production of spice is in any way affected. Usually they are ready with something legal far before any new scheduling takes place, It honestly only harms the consumers of these products, who are unknowingly taking in stranger and stranger substances. This whole mess makes me very angry, and the behavior of Spice producers as well as politicians who are looking to garner votes by appearing to be tough on crime. Neither of these groups care in the least about the people who consume this stuff. And Spice was very very bad for you when it contained JWH-018, 073, 250, 203, 081, 019 etc. Nowadays I would consider it toxic waste, much worse than bath salts.


The khat plant contains no traces of methcathinone. Unsubstitued cathinone (amphetamine type effects), and cathine (norpseudoephedrine, with ephedrine and pseudo type effects. Methcathinone is a synthetic drug usually produced through oxidation of the beta hydroxy feature of ephedrine.


Thanks for indulging me.

Sat, 02/15/2014 - 3:21am Permalink
cousin Jim (not verified)

His quote about expectations for his grandchildren is a recognition of the next step in our evolution to becoming free and legal consumers of cannabis. I'd have rather heard him take the opportunity to suggest the real problem, that with cannabis being illegal, they've created a market for this other garbage. It's about time we open our eyes and minds just a bit more, and consider another analysis of this drug war. Do something your grandchildren will be really proud of.

Sun, 02/27/2011 - 5:16pm Permalink

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 1:30pm Permalink
Mr Focus (not verified)

That is really rich, given that Utah is the center of the unregulated dietary supplement industry.  Their Senator Hatch was the one that wrote the bill that removed the supplement industry from the purview of the food and drug administration.  

Not that this crap isn't terrible, or bad for you, but so goes the drug industry.  So much for letting people be responsible for their own behavior.  So what is it senator hatch?  Does the government know what's best for me or does it not?

Sat, 07/07/2012 - 1:01pm Permalink

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