Synthetic pot under DEA watch
Spice, K2, Blaze, fake pot, or whatever its most recent street name may be, synthetic marijuana is getting an upsurge of attention these days, especially from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The administration announced this week it is using its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five chemicals used to make fake pot products.
Legal in many states, including California, fake pot has become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults, according to the Drug Administration.
Just what kind of an issue it is in the North State could not be determined this week as many law enforcement officials were gone for the Thanksgiving holiday
The products consist of plant material that has been coated with research chemicals, JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol, that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, the administration said.
Marketed as giving a "marijuana-like high," fake pot products are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet, reports the DEA.
"These chemicals, however, have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process. Brands such as "Spice," "K2," "Blaze," and "Red X Dawn" are labeled as incense to mask their intended purpose," said DEA Special Agent Casey McEnry, in a press release.
Since 2009, DEA said it has received an increasing number of reports from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding these products.
"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 M. Leonhart, in the release. "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."
Except as authorized by law, the DEA's recent action will make possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled, DEA states.
In conjunction with the emergency ban, the chemicals will be designated as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category, which is reserved for unsafe, highly abused substances with no medical usage.