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DEA Extends Ban on Fake Marijuana Chemicals

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #724)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

The DEA has extended for another six months its emergency ban on five synthetic cannabinoids used to manufacture "fake weed" products. The chemicals are sprayed on herbal mixtures and the resulting product is sold under names including Spice and K2.

The agency first enacted the ban a year ago, but that emergency ban was set to expire last Thursday. The DEA published the extension in the federal register that same day.

The extension continues the ban on five synthetic cannabinoids: JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497 (that's all one chemical CP-47,497) and cannabicyclohexanol. The ban means those substances are treated as Schedule I drugs under federal law.

"Schedule 1 substances are reserved for those substances with a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision," the DEA reminded in a press release last Wednesday.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported last month that after synthetic marijuana products first appeared on their radar in 2009, generating several hundred calls, the number jumped to 2,906 calls in 2010 and 6,956 last year. Their data also showed that the number of calls peaked in July 2011 at 705 and have declined since then, with 551 calls reported in December.

The poison centers and emergency room doctors have reported such symptoms as disorientation, elevated heart rates, and vomiting, similar to those reported from adverse reactions to marijuana. There are no confirmed reports of overdose deaths, and only a handful of deaths potentially linked to synthetic marijuana, including a trio of suicides after use, a young man killed in a traffic accident while driving after use, and a 13-year-old Pennsylvania boy who smoked synthetic weed out of a plastic Pez dispenser and later died of complications from a lung transplant.

"We continue to address the problems of synthetic drug manufacturing, trafficking, and abuse. Our efforts have clearly shown that these chemicals present an imminent threat to public safety," said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. "This six month extension is critical and gives us the time necessary to conduct the administrative scheduling process for permanent control.

A number of states have and localities have already banned synthetic marijuana, and more are moving to do so this year. Federal legislation that would ban both synthetic marijuana and new synthetic stimulants ("bath salts") has passed the House, but is being blocked in the Senate by a hold placed on it by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

This week, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) joined the American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP and nearly 40 other organizations on a letter to members of the Senate urging them to oppose the legislation. In a separate press release, DPA urged Congress to not just reject the synthetic drug legislation but also overhaul US drug policy, pointing out that last year marked the 40th Anniversary of President Nixon declaring a war on drugs, and despite the government arresting tens of millions of nonviolent Americans and spending more than a trillion dollars, drugs are cheap, potent, and readily available in every community.

"Senator Rand Paul is standing up to both political parties and doing what it takes to protect Kentucky taxpayers from the career politicians in Washington who want to waste more money on failed drug policies," said Bill Piper, DPA director of national affairs. "He should be applauded for opposing government waste and supporting public safety. The failed war on drugs costs too much and achieves too little; it is time for a new approach."

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.


Snarf (not verified)

So they can just indefinitely extend the restriction without having any reason? This "emergency scheduling" is just the DEA's way of getting around congress. Keep up the good fight, Rand and Ron.

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 8:46pm Permalink
HES (not verified)

Let's turn the table.  We the people out number the dumb ass DEA by far.

I declare the DEA as an illegal agency against the American people and their rights of happiness.  I declare the DEA was formed without the consent of the American citizens of the United Stated of America.  I declare that the DEA was illegally formed period.

I declare WAR on the DEA.

I authorize FORCE against All DEA.  Comply with all FBI,CIA, HLS, and all other worthy and needed agencies, But NOT DEA!


Death to DEA!  


Message to DEA : STOP harming American Citizens! Patrol borders if you must, but stop hurting US! (as in USA).


You are Done!  You are EVIL.  Quit your job and be a regular cop or FBI.  


Your Armour will not save you.  We will aim for your eyes.  Death to the DEA.  We need Reform now!!!!!!!!!!!!   

Fri, 03/09/2012 - 12:58am Permalink
Steve Edwards (not verified)

I was waiting to see what would happen on this day - not at all surprising though.

So I guess people can continue to use all the other hundred or so synthetic cannabinoids (unless prohibited by locals law) in the meantime...

I'd love to hear an explanation how they settled on just those five chems besides the fact that they were among the most popular.

Total idiocity all around - lol.

Sun, 03/11/2012 - 6:18am Permalink
Steve Edwards (not verified)

So I finally found an answer (copied from another site):

[Last Place On Earth shop owner Jim] Carlson said that with about 210 similar chemicals available, the manufacturers will try to keep one step ahead of the government

“Unfortunately he is correct,” said Barbara Carreno, a DEA spokeswoman in Washington, who confirmed Tuesday that many suppliers are offering retailers products with new chemicals. "There are many of these substances and we chose five common ones because we don’t have the resources to study all of them."

Sun, 03/11/2012 - 6:37am Permalink
Bill Fields (not verified)

Yup, it didn't work for alcohol and it's not working with marijuana.  

Billions and billions wasted on the War on Drugs.

Millions of people with criminal records because of it, cancer patients deprived of something that could help them immensely.

The Land Of The Free needs to put the freedom back into it.  Ron Paul had the right idea.  If people want to be dumb and kill themselves with hard drugs, LET THEM.  Marijuana doesn't hurt anyone though and it's Illegal?  

Let me go buy some legal cigarettes then and get me some legal cancer!  Whoo hooo!

Fri, 03/23/2012 - 7:26pm Permalink
Anonymous Person (not verified)

America has Waged the Drug war for too long.

We must make america pay in Blood if we ever Want to regain the right to Get High.

Sun, 04/22/2012 - 9:29pm Permalink

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