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Obama Signs Synthetic Drug Ban Bill

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #742)
Consequences of Prohibition
Politics & Advocacy

President Barack Obama Monday signed into law a bill banning the synthetic drugs known popularly as "bath salts" and "fake weed." The language barring the substances was inserted into the Food and Drug Administration safety bill passed last month by the Congress.

Bye-bye Spice, hello...? (
The bill targets 31 specific synthetic stimulant, cannabinoid, and hallucinogenic compounds. Marketed under brand names like K2 and Spice for synthetic cannabinoids and under names like Ivory Wave, among others, for synthetic stimulants, the drugs have become increasingly popular in recent years.

With their rising popularity came rising reports of emergency room visits and poison control center calls attributed to the drugs. Synthetic cannabinoids have been linked to symptoms similar to those suffered by people who sought medical help after smoking marijuana, while the adverse reactions reported by "bath salts" users have been more serious.

More than half the states and numerous localities have moved to ban some of these new synthetics, and the DEA placed both groups of substances under an emergency ban until Congress acted.

Congressional advocates of the prohibitionist approach to new synthetics were pleased.

"President Obama's swift approval of this federal ban is the final nail in the coffin for the legal sale of bath salts in smoke shops and convenient stores in New York State and throughout the rest of the country," said Schumer in a press release (which also includes a complete list of the 31 banned substances). "This law will close loopholes that have allowed manufacturers to circumvent local and state bans and ensure that you cannot simply cross state lines to find these deadly bath salts, and I'm pleased that after a great deal of effort, it has become law. We have seen bath salts catalyze some of the most heinous crimes in recent months across Upstate New York, and the President's signature ensures that the federal government can fight this scourge with a united front, across state lines and at our borders."

Schumer used the occasion to take a jab at Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who had placed a senatorial hold on the bill, blocking it for months over his concerns about mandatory minimum sentences before removing the hold after the bill's sentencing structure was modified. Schumer gloated that Congress passed the bill "over the strenuous objections" of Paul.

While Schumer and his colleagues claimed the bill will suppress the new synthetics, others were not so certain.

New York state anti-synthetic activist Deirdre Canaday, whose 26-year-old son Aaron Stinson died last year after smoking a form of fake weed called Mr. Nice Guy, told a local TV news station the ban addressed only a handful of potential new synthetic drugs.

"I think if the American public isn't careful, they'll think this issue has been addressed when this is really just the tip of the iceberg," she said. "By specifically labeling chemical compounds, they are creating an open door for these basement and garage chemists to create analogs, which is branching out from the original compound, and differing just slightly, and it still has the same effect," said Canaday.

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.


This sickens me I am a veteran with TBI and PTSD and weed is a great stabilizer for this but of course no job will keep you if you smoke the stuff due to our ridiculuos laws. I am very experienced in the use of this new synthetic weed and have smoke a huge variety of them including mr nice guy with no crazy symptoms as listed in all the articles i have found. Luck I think not!!! while everything has it's side affects none of these over the five years of smoking it has caused any health problems for me but does take the edge off of a long day at work and a mental break from the TBI/PTSD like weed. Freedom what the heck ever get over yourselves you Freedom thieves. We the people need to take our country back from our government and put the laws on them while they live in lower class from day to day. 

Thu, 08/02/2012 - 8:12pm Permalink
Anonymous Chelle (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous1 (not verified)

Are you crazy? You are just one of the lucky few like myself that have not experienced any major side effects from synthetic marijuana. I witnessed my fiance have a seizure after smoking some. It started with him complaining of a massive head rush and the next thing I knew he was convulsing and unresponsive! The day I saw that was the day I decided to never do it again! There are no regulations on applying the chemical to the stuff in the consistency in amount or recipe. Trust me, my friend, you have been just as lucky as me. Stop now while you're still alive to gripe about it ;)

Wed, 10/31/2012 - 4:43pm Permalink

I got thinking and well maybe they should ban camp fires as they release harmful carcinogens  into the atmosphere while the campers next door have to take it in as it crosses their camp site I know I get headaches from being around a camp fire too long

Thu, 08/02/2012 - 9:50pm Permalink
Samuel (not verified)

I don't get what the big deal with all this stuff is, the government is so focused on banning these stupid things because they want us to have no freedom. there are hardly any side effects to this stuff and they concur its killing people and sending people to the hospital, yet war, people, animals, cancer, and ect. kills like 10000 times more people that shit ye they waste our own money to ban these stupid drugs. let people get high, if that's what they want to do, they will keep finding ways to get high, but banning substances makes peoples more prone to doing something worse because that's all they have. The government is stupid, I swear a stoner could run the government better. we doubt even have any rights. like the Bill of rights is like just taught to us in school in history,but we if we don't even follow them anymore? someone should sue the.government.
Sun, 03/23/2014 - 11:12am Permalink

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