New synthetic marijuana seized by feds in Philadelphia

By chillinwill · Feb 19, 2010 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    Federal agents are cracking down on imports of a synthetic marijuana that has started appearing in the Philadelpha area.

    So far, 85 parcels, arriving from Amsterdam at a UPS facility at Philadelphia International Airport, have been detained, then seized after tests proved positive for the drug, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

    The latest seizures were on Tuesday, after a CPB lab in Georgia confirmed that two parcels discovered on Jan. 6 contained JWH-018, a synthetic cannabinoid. The seizures marked a first for the agency's Philadelphia region.

    The confiscated materials are small, clear plastic bags of dried leaves labeled with the brand name K2 and marketed as a kind of incense. In all, the CBP in Philadelphia has seized about four pounds of the potpourri-like stuff.

    "It's just random plant material, but they coat it with a chemical and then they dry it out," said Homeland Security spokesman Steve Sapp.

    "Potheads tend to inhale this in a bong," he added.

    Spice, Gemini and Yucatan Fire are other brands being distributed, Sapp said.

    "JWH-018 is a relatively new discovery for us," said Allan Martocci, CPB director of port oversight in Philadelphia. "If it indeed reacts similar to marijuana, then it poses some real concern for law enforcement, and it's good that CBP removed these products from our nation's marketplace."

    Although the drug is not federally classified as a narcotic, it is listed as Drug and Chemical of Concern, illegal for sale without FDA approval, according to a CBP news release.

    That violation was the basis for the seizure.

    With a market value of up to $50 for 3 grams, the Philadelphia seizures of about 2 kilograms puts the street value of the haul at as much as $30,000, the agency estimated. The parcels weighed from 4 to 92 grams.

    Kansas and Missouri are considering outlawing synthetic marijuana.

    "These seizures illustrate the tremendous cooperation between CBP's front-line officers and our scientific experts," said Martocci. "Our officers discovered a peculiar product that they suspected to be potentially harmful, and scientific analysis confirmed the product to be synthetic cannabinoid, a product which is prohibited by the FDA for entry to the U.S."

    By Peter Mucha
    February 19, 2010

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  1. lordcheeto
    It is unbelievable how far our country will go to (try) to stop people from enjoying anything that feels like marijuana. Sure, the chemical isn't supposed to be sold without FDA approval, but neither is crystal meth... the only difference is that one of those substances is a scheduled substance and the other isn't. I don't know to what extent the dangers exist in synthesizing jwh-018, but I do know the explosions a meth lab can cause; and I'm sure there are plenty of those the DEA could worry about instead of an "other than legal" substance. But incense...really? Sure smoking it causes effects, but huffing freon causes effects as well. So does huffing gasoline. Or paint thinner. Or magic markers. What I'm getting at is no matter what a product is "intended" for, there will be people out there to "abuse" it.

    It is scenarios such as this one that really shed light on our "War on Drugs." Or am I just being biased? Up until 2-3 years ago, I had never heard of 2-CB. It was still 'other than legal' when I found out about it but I can't say I've read one single news story on it. I didn't hear about any of those deaths from the mis-labeled bromo-dragonfly until a few weeks ago. Same with any other RC for that matter... Why is it, though, that out of the absurdly dangerous research chemicals available for purchase at 3-4 online vendors I can think of off the top of my head, synthetic cannabinoids are the ones under the gun? Because it's similar to marijuana. Because if these chemicals were allowed to gain more popularity, and begin to be seen as acceptable, then marijuana legalization would be in the forefront of discussion; and there is no one person who wants that to happen! Well, except for a very large, very diverse cross section of our citizens who aren't in decision making positions....but that's neither here nor there.
  2. happa331
    can some SWIMMER clarify the law.

    is it only illegal to import JWH 018 into the US?
    but it is legal to posses it?

    and is it legal to manufacture JWH 018 in the US. then if that is the
    case then the US entrepreneurs should start to manufacture the
    products with in the US borders.

    however, with all the articles and news bits happening now, it is only
    a matter of time before it will be out rightly banned.

    our hope is that California will push forward and legalize cannabis. then
    there would be no need for synthetic cannabis.
  3. Terrapinzflyer
    Interesting. I wonder if this was the basis for the FDA being the lead agency in the kansas raid recently?

    here is the "complete"? list from the DEA
    strange that some of them are actually specifically scheduled while some are not... :confused:
  4. bcubed
    Far be it for anyone to expect a news article to be factually accurate, but if the FDA's involved, it can only regulate the sale of products intended for human consumption. It only has power to control: food, (legal) drugs, and cosmetics. (That's why one sees so much "incense" out there...)

    Also, the FDA wouldn't use a term like "Drug and Chemical of Concern"; that's DEA-speak. The FDA would refer to a product as being "adulterated food" or an "adulterant" that can't be sold as food, or added to food (such as adding formaldehyde as a meat preservative). This is what ephedra is, and why it can't be sold for human consumtion (ephedra toilet-bowl cleaner is still legal ;-)

    The fact of this bust, coupled with the Kansas bust, STRONGLY suggests to me an imminent move to criminalize JWH-018 and similar, and to get as much product off the streets prior to law enactment. (Who cares if the cases get tossed out of long as the drugs get tossed, too?)

    I would advise any US SWIMMERS out there to consider this fact, and act accordingly.
  5. Each Hit
    swim is wondering if there is still a small window of opportunity for him to stock up on jwh-018. it seems the DEA has begun to catch on to it, so surely even orders of pure jwh are at risk for confiscation. how much longer before the laws are expanded yet again?
  6. lordcheeto
    SWIM just recently ordered a gram from one source and a quarter gram from another source and has been somewhat paranoid about that after reading things similar to this. Should SWIM be worried at all? It's all domestic purchases?

    Back on target: SWIM never even noticed that it was the FDA and not DEA conducting the raids! Stupid acronyms! That just raises more questions!:confused:
  7. Terrapinzflyer
    Actually- don't think the article was wrong- the quote was of a CBP (customs) officer stating it was listed as a drug of concern, which gave the FDA oversight. I believe this is correct- the DEA has listed it as a drug of concern - and since it has been officially labeled a drug but not scheduled- it falls under the realm of the FDA and not law enforcement.

    The incense /plant food /bath salts routine doesn't really fly too well in the US. We know its a drug, they know its a drug. It is very interesting they (law enforcement) are letting the FDA run with this. It ~may~ be a signal that there not going for schedule I with it.

    Can anyone remember another RC where the FDA and not the DEA had the lead prior to scheduling???
  8. Alfa
    You raise an interesting question. The answer may be here: Spice: Synthetic drug seized by US customs at DHL hub

    The DEA already went for spice. As customs gave the case to the DEA. But nothing came from it. So the case against the Ohio spice vendor must have failed. That means that the analysis of HU-210 in spice was wrong. Otherwise they would surely have prosecuted the vendor for selling an analog of a controlled substance.

    The DEA lists on their site that HU-210 is an analog of THC, while jwh-018 and cp7,497 are not.
    So it looks like the DEA does not have a legal ground to act on spice. This would leave the FDA to be the next option to stop spice / K2.

    However, that probably means that the shipments can be confiscated and recipients fined. But nothing more. Is that correct?
  9. Snouter Fancier
    I just noticed this. Salvia is a 'drug of concern', that is illegal for sale without DEA approval? But Salvia is widely and openly available within the US. I doubt that all the hundreds of botanicals dealers cleared their sales with the DEA.

    Something is screwy here.

    Hey, kava is also on the list. And also widely available. What gives?

    It's also notable that mephedrone and methylone are not on that list, nor are most their buddies from the Beta Ketone forum.

    Funny list.
  10. bluntshell
    It appears to me that the list in question is someone at the DEA's note pad for drugs that he/she should learn more about.... ;)

    Or like a list of drugs that they're watching statistics on....

    "Kava is not a controlled substance in the U.S. Due to concerns of liver toxicity, many countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have placed regulatory controls on kava. These controls range from warning consumers of the dangers of taking kava to removing kava products from the marketplace."

    I don't see any legal writing which states that being placed on that list changes the law, and they know they have no legal means to control kava consumption at the moment.
    They seem to want it to be known that they're watching though....

    ***and then I remembered the webcam mounted on my laptop, it's ***feeling more and more like it's about to be a telescreen....
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