March 2, 2011
DEA Bans Five Synthetic Marijuana Chemicals
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) used its emergency powers on Tuesday to ban five chemicals used to produce "K2", "Spice" and other brands of synthetic marijuana.
The agency classified the five banned chemicals in Schedule I, the most restrictive category under the federal government's Controlled Substances Act.
Schedule I substances are reserved for those materials with a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use for treatment and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
"The DEA today exercised its emergency scheduling authority to control five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used to make so-called "fake pot" products," the DEA said.
"Except as authorized by law, this action makes possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the United States."
"This emergency action was necessary to prevent an imminent threat to public health and safety."
The agency filed a final notice on Monday that the chemicals will be banned for sale for at least a year, while the DEA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determine whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled.
The Final Order was published Tuesday in the Federal Register to alert the public.
Synthetic marijuana is typically sold in drug paraphernalia shops and over the Internet, and is marketed under various brands including Spice, K2, Blaze and Red X Dawn. The products contain organic leaves coated with chemicals that, when smoked, trigger a marijuana-like high.
DEA officials announced plans for the emergency measure in November, amid increasing reports from poison control centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding these products.
"Emergency room physicians report that individuals that use these types of products experience serious side effects which include: convulsions, anxiety attacks, dangerously elevated heart rates, increased blood pressure, vomiting, and disorientation," the DEA said in a statement.
"Young people are being harmed when they smoke these dangerous "Ëfake pot' products and wrongly equate the products' "Ëlegal' retail availability with being "Ësafe'," said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.
"Parents and community leaders look to us to help them protect their kids, and we have not let them down. Today's action, while temporary, will reduce the number of young people being seen in hospital emergency rooms after ingesting these synthetic chemicals to get high."
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