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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Agency Will Study Whether To Permanently Control Five Substances

    NOV 24 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is using its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used to make “fake pot” products. Except as authorized by law, this 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 (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled.

    A Notice of Intent to Temporarily Control was published in the Federal Register today to alert the public to this action. After no fewer than 30 days, DEA will publish in the Federal Register a Final Rule to Temporarily Control these chemicals for at least 12 months with the possibility of a six-month extension. They will be designated as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category, which is reserved for unsafe, highly abused substances with no medical usage.

    Over the past year, smokable herbal blends marketed as being “legal” and providing a marijuana-like high, have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults. These products consist of plant material that has been coated with research chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet. 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.

    Since 2009, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding these products. Fifteen states have already taken action to control one or more of these chemicals. The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to allow the DEA Administrator to emergency schedule an abused, harmful, non-medical substance in order to avoid an imminent public health crisis while the formal rule-making procedures described in the CSA are being conducted.

    “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. “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.”

    DEA Press Release


    PDF of the entry in the Federal Register is attached to this post.


  1. Terrapinzflyer
    the text of the entry in the federal register:

  2. torachi
    To understand simply: this will be decided and/or enacted within 30 days, meaning by December 25th the listed cannabinoid sale/possession will be a federally prosecutable offense?
  3. Terrapinzflyer
    ^^ the ~minimum~ waiting period once posted is 30 days. The holidays *may* slow down the red tape, but my guess would be they will aim for it to go into effect January 1st. But presumably it could go into effect as early as December 24th.

    It remains to be seen if they will then try and use the analog act to prosecute other synthetic cannabinoids not specifically covered in this. My gut feeling is they may if vendors still try and openly sell synthetic cannabinoids- but only time will tell.
  4. tvhatic
    We all knew this day was coming… Making this a sched 1 substance, does anyone know what kind of penalties will be in acted for violating this temp 1 year ban?

    Really hoping they don’t kill cannabinoids research by pushing the analog act
  5. Terrapinzflyer
    K2 Crackdown: DEA Using Emergency Powers To Ban Fake Pot

    WASHINGTON -- The Drug Enforcement Administration announced Wednesday that it would use its emergency powers to ban synthetic marijuana for one year, giving pot dealers across the country something to be thankful for when they sit down before their turkeys this week.

    The synthetic weed, known as "K2" or "spice" and generally sold in head shops, is popular among police officers, members of the military and others looking to avoid failing a drug test, said one hemp store owner who sells the product. The high from marijuana is created by its main active ingredient THC, but also by the plant's several dozen poorly understood cannabinoids. The DEA had banned any drug containing natural or synthetic THC, but has not addressed the cannabinoids. K2 has been legal because it uses synthetic versions of the cannabinoids rather than THC; because drug tests look for THC, users could smoke spice and not get caught by supervisors. But because it doesn't include THC, it gives users a different, lesser high than real pot. Because it has not been carefully studied, there is no certainty over whether it is as safe as marijuana. It is often labeled as incense and contains warnings against human consumption.

    Just as the threatened ban on the caffeinated booze drink Four Loko caused a run on convenience stores, the DEA's announcement about K2's impending ban threatens to send hordes of consumers to water pipe outposts, as users will have 30 days to hoard the fake drug before the ban goes into place. "A Notice of Intent to Temporarily Control was published in the Federal Register today to alert the public to this action," the DEA announced in a statement. "After no fewer than 30 days, DEA will publish in the Federal Register a Final Rule to Temporarily Control these chemicals for at least 12 months with the possibility of a six-month extension. They will be designated as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category, which is reserved for unsafe, highly abused substances with no medical usage."

    A Schedule I listing would put it in a more restrictive category than cocaine.

    "These products are a predictable outgrowth of criminal marijuana prohibition," said Paul Armentano, a top official with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "As prohibition is apt to do, it has driven the production of a commodity into the hands of unregulated, unknown dealers, driven up the potency of the commodity, and in doing so created a scenario where the consumer is faced with a potentially greater health risks than they would be had they simply had the legal choice to use the product they actually desired, in this case cannabis. Given that most manufacturers of these products are overseas and not subject to U.S. laws and regulations, it is unlikely that the DEA's action will in any way halt the dissemination, use or misuse of these products among the public."

    Acting DEA chief Michele Leonhart, who has been nominated by Obama to become permanent head, said that she hoped the government's action would reduce interest in the drug -- a vain hope that flies in the face of logic and the nation's long and complicated history with drug use and drug policy. "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," said Leonhart.

    History says that the effect will be just the opposite: When the government pushes one drug into the black market, producers and users look for a ready alternative, often one that is more dangerous than the one that was banned. In several states that moved to ban K2, proprietors quickly began stocking shelves with substitutes. One online vendor for instance, advertises "two NEW K2 products, NOT COVERED BY ANY BANS!" The publicity will likely only pique interest in the fake pot; the site brags that it was "featured on Fox News."

    "Our concern is that criminalizing possession and distribution of K2 is ceding control to the criminal market and organized crime. When you do that, the criminals decide what goes into this product," said Grant Smith, who studies the issue for the Drug Policy Alliance. "They're taking the easy way out. They should be figuring out what's in these products and regulating them."

    Ryan Grim is the author of This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America

  6. Terrapinzflyer
    US moves to make synthetic marijuana illegal

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Cracking down on fake pot, the government moved Wednesday to outlaw five chemicals used in herbal blends to make the synthetic marijuana sold in head shops and on the Internet to a growing number of teens and young adults.

    Responding to the latest designer drug fad, the Drug Enforcement Administration began the 30-day process to put these chemicals in the same drug category as heroin and cocaine. The agency acted after receiving increasing reports about these products since 2009 from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement agencies.

    The five chemicals mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and aren't approved by the Food and Drug Administration for human consumption.

    DEA spokeswoman Barbara Carreno said makers of fake pot blends including "Spice," ''K2," ''Blaze," and "Red X Dawn," label the mixtures as incense to try to hide their intended purpose.

    But ultimately, Carreno said, the blends are smoked like real marijuana to produce a high and are making users across the country sick.

    The DEA action, posted in the Federal Register, would outlaw the five chemicals 30 days from now "to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety." Fifteen states have already acted to ban or regulate one or more of these chemicals.

    The DEA said it first became aware of these new designer drugs in November 2008 when the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency analyzed "Spice."

    As of Sept. 27, the American Association of Poison Control Centers has reported receiving more than 1,500 calls from 48 states and the District of Columbia about products spiked with these drugs, the DEA said.

    White House Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske said that at a time when youth drug use is on the rise, "it is critical that parents act today to talk to young people about the harms of drug use, including synthetic marijuana products like Spice and K2 that are marketed as 'incense.'"

    In a statement, Kerlikowske added, "Until the risks associated with ingesting these products and chemicals can be studied and understood, there is no place for them on the shelves of any legitimate business."

    John W. Huffman, a retired organic chemistry researcher from Clemson University, first developed three of soon-to-be-banned compounds as part of his research sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 1993. He said Wednesday the chemicals were never intended to be used by people.

    Huffman said the compounds were developed to study how compounds that mimic THC but have very different chemical formulas interact with the brain. Huffman said they were only tested in animals.

    "They are dangerous and anyone who uses them is stupid," Huffman said in a telephone interview from his Sylva, N.C., home.

    Huffman said there have been reports of overdoses, suicides, hallucinations, seizures and cases of addiction.

    Associated Press
    November 24, 2010

  7. fatal
    I'm glad this didn't cover JWH250. The phenylacetly-indoles derivatives hopefully are far enough off to not be analogues. Maybe not. Sad either way though. :(

  8. Terrapinzflyer
    Over the past couple months in news stories relating to state bans I have seen a couple references that indicate the DEA is taking legal opinion on whether the analog act requires a substance to be structurally similar & similar in effects, or if just one of the two qualifies. I got the impression that if the legal opinion says both then they are intent on having the law changed.

    Interesting times...
  9. fatal
    Maybe they'll just make all cannabinoid receptor ligands illegal on a federal level now. Awesome :thumbsup:

    something I don't understand;
    How would placing a substance in Schedule I possibly allow it to be "studied and understood"?

  10. Terrapinzflyer
    The Feds have stated they will not really be going after end users in all this but focusing on manufacturers/distributors, and I would assume retailers- at least in states that do not have their own cannabinoid bans in place.

    I am already seeing quotes from distributors / retailers in the press that they will be selling reformulated blends that don't contain the explicitly banned chemicals. I have a sad feeling many of these people had never heard of "research chemicals" before the cash cow of synthetic cannabinoids came along, and probably never heard of WebTryp or the analog act. Personally- I do not see this ending well if open, public sales continue.

    As to research- shouldn't have much effect. The drugs they are scheduling have shown little promise, and the analog act would have little effect on legitimate scientific/medical research. It may have somewhat of a chilling effect in terms of companies thinking of potential scheduling restrictions on new products ( in other words, they may think a line of research would be more profitable if the drug developed where schedule IV then if it ends up schedule II) and that may have an effect on funding of research. But I don't see this having a major impact at this time.
  11. Phenoxide
    It's sad that the US is seemingly destined to make the same mistakes that were made with the ketones market in Europe. As with the ketones it started with careless and excessive promotion (e.g. smoking blends being sold over-the-counter in gas stations) and these substances therefore gaining a degree of notoriety. These substances also seemed to fall into the hands of minors far too easily and too often, which in some cases led to hospitalizations. This in turn attracts media attention, and once that reaches a critical mass legislators step in and overreact by scheduling without much consideration of the harm these substances have caused and are likely to cause in future.

    The writing has been on the wall for some time that the DEA would eventually step in. What worries me is what happens next though. If the manufacturers and distributors try and meet the legislation head-on by rolling out new compounds immediately then I don't see things ending well for anyone. In the UK "naphyrone" was immediately rolled out as a replacement for mephedrone. The result? Within months naphyrone along with a huge number of other conceivable beta-ketone derivatives were also controlled. This despite naphyrone rarely appearing in products claiming to contain it.

    If the US market makes the same mistake with cannabinoids, I think analog act reform is inevitable, and that could leave the US with even more stringent derivative laws than those in the UK. Unlike scheduling of a handful of specified cannabinoids, changes to the analog act could be harmful to research as it'd discourage development of new classes of compounds that might be covered. Those novel but as yet undiscovered compounds may be the ones that have real scientific or therapeutic applications.

    The smartest thing the suppliers could do now is let the market cool off. Unfortunately I think they're likely to try and squeeze every last cent that they can out of it, and in doing so they'll kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Kinda sad really. The driving force of monetary gain (with neither consent from nor reward for the people who actually developed the compounds) is pretty much the antithesis of Shulgin and the 'true' concept of research chemicals.
  12. Ratha
    "Huffman said there have been reports of overdoses, suicides, hallucinations, seizures and cases of addiction."

    So synthetics can in some instances mimic effects reported in the use of pot, as well as in the much more societally and individually damaging drug of alcohol. (Not getting into the sinister effects of any number of prescription medications.) If this is Huffman's criteria for labeling someone "stupid," it must be a real chore for him to find a non-stupid person to which to speak.
  13. funkyfish77
    AW: DEA Moves to Emergency Control Synthetic Marijuana

    Very interesting so what does this really mean for the end consumer come the first of the
    Year ? Got to tag along for this
  14. Killa Weigha

    Can anyone guess what the outcome of the "study" will be? Or how many $millions the "study" will cost taxpayers? Time to move on.
  15. Alfa
    The outcome will most likely be that they will permanently ban them.
  16. ronpintx
    "Victimless Crimes" are not crimes at all. We desperately need a 28th amendment to ban Victimless Crimes! How long will we tolerate government control of our consciousness? The DEA mocks freedom and our laws. No victim -- crime!!! (age restrict only)
  17. RobotWar
    LA times is reporting that distributors are already shifting products in order to comply with new regulations.
    What we are seeing here is very interesting. It seems like there will be a natural shift to non jwh based products in spice blends, that I think is obvious. However, its important to also consider how this impacts companies who are simply distributors of the raw chemicals themselves. It will be interesting to see how they react.
    Naturally this was not a surprise to anyone, and actually makes a lot of sense from a political standpoint. This DEA scheduling will render state based legislation against the product unnecessarily in the upcoming state sessions.
    So where does this crazy train of drug 2.0 go from here? My guess falls in with previous comments on the side of there being some analogue act reform, which will raise the steaks considerably for all sides. No matter what, this should be a very interesting few months.
  18. Alfa
    Keep poking the bear and guess what will happen.
  19. sparkling_star
    Based on the analogue act, I could never figure out how these blends like K2 and Spice were legal to begin with. Can someone explain the loop hole and why they had to write up a specific law for these chemicals when they are related to marijuana?

    If only the DEA didn't have the authority to create and enact their own laws without any oversight. I hope this doesn't lead to a change in the analogue act like some of you have mentioned. *sigh*
  20. Terrapinzflyer

    Well, a couple issues- the section of the analog act the DEA has apparently been looking at is:
    There is some debate over whether both subsections i & ii must apply, or whether either alone is sufficient. Many synthetic cannabinoids would violate subsection ii but not subsection i.

    Further, prosecution under the analog act is much more time and money consuming then a prosecution under an existing law, so there is a natural desire to simplify things.
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