Fake pot now illegal in U.S.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration today announced that five variations of synthetic marijuana also called Spice K2, Blaze, or Red X Dawn have been added to its list of illegal drugs. These chemicals found in synthetic marijuana are created in laboratories to produce effects similar to marijuana plants but remain different enough on a molecular level to escape detection in urine tests. They are sometimes sprayed on smokable, organic materials that are ultimately sold in head shops as “incense.” Now the DEA has banned possessing or selling products containing any of five popular chemical recipes for Spice for the next 12 months at least.

DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said, “Young people are being harmed when they smoke these dangerous ‘fake pot’ products and wrongly equate the products’ ‘legal’ retail availability with being ‘safe’.” “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,’.” He added. They have listed the chemical compounds under Schedule 1, the most restrictive classification. The agency and the U.S. Health and Human Services Department continue to look at whether Spice should be permanently banned.

“These materials area actually coated with one of five chemicals used to mimic the effects of THC and these five chemicals were never intended for human use; they were intended for research purposes only in the university setting and on animals,” explains Scott Collier, a spokesman for the DEA out of St. Louis.

Retailers remain one step ahead of the law. Before these restrictions came into being head shops in Colorado began selling varieties of Spice that claim to use different chemical recipes than those banned by the DEA. Colorado lawmakers are working to close that loophole. Missouri businesses who sell K2 - a form of synthetic marijuana, are also not worried about these laws.   The retailers there knew that these five chemicals were already a part of Missouri’s House Bill 1472. Arkansas did not have a statewide ban in place, so the DEA’s move means a change for retailers there.

Senate Bill 134 bans any chemical that interacts with the brain in the same way that traditional marijuana does. The legislation, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp, is scheduled for its first hearing March 9 in the chamber’s judiciary committee. The DEA said at least 16 states have taken action to ban one or more of these chemicals.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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