Obama Administration Bans Synthetic Weed

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Your brain on spice?
More than four months after voters in Colorado and Washington State legalized recreational marijuana smoking, the Obama administration has yet to announce any plans to either tolerate those developments or continue to crack down on America's homegrown marijuana industry (to the presumed delight of the Mexican cartels). 

But today, the federal government is announcing a significant policy change, declaring three popular forms of synthetic marijuana--commonly known as "spice"--as illegal. Specifically, the U.S. Justice Department has added three chemical compounds--UR-144, XLR11 and AKB48--to its list of so-called Schedule 1 narcotics which (allegedly, since marijuana's on that list) are dangerous to public health and have no medicinal value.  

In its notice, published in today's Federal Register but first reported yesterday in The Hill, the feds referred to widespread and well-documented instances of synthetic marijuana causing serious health consequences to those who smoke it.

"Smoking mixtures of these substances for the purposes of achieving intoxication has been identified as a reason for numerous emergency room visits and calls to poison control centers," says Justice. "Some of the adverse health effects reported in response to the abuse of synthetic cannabinoids include vomiting, anxiety, agitation, irritability, seizures, hallucinations, tachycardia, elevated blood pressure, and loss of consciousness."

Sounds like a party! 

Spice is nothing new to regular readers of Navel Gazing. Matt Coker reported that last July, San Clemente shut down a smoke shop after confiscating a variety of bath salts (a synthetic hallucinogen) as well as spice, that had been labeled as smoking accessories. (The owner said he thought they were for cleaning pipes or taking a bath). The raid took place just days after the U.S. Senate passed a law outlawing the sale of the two substances. 

The new scheduling is, ahem, scheduled to take effect in 30 days. 

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jose257 topcommenter

Hurray, we have yet another war and it's called the War on Bath Salts.

I'm sure this war will work as well as the other stupid wars.

Brian Ephraim
Brian Ephraim

They should have just legalized real marijuana and no one would touch the harmful fake stuff ever again.


@jose257 I know that some people talk like making dangerous drugs illegal doesn't help the situation at all, in fact it doesn't dissuade users, at all.  However, in Illinois we have proven that bans are very effective in decreasing use.  We passed local and state legislation starting August 2011, which is exactly when ER visits and poison center calls PLUMMETED.  Illinois Poison Center calls for synthetic drugs went from 30% over to 60% under the national average.  So, the argument that the prohibition doesn't work is absolutely WRONG!


@Brian Ephraim I hate to burst your bubble, but those people that are trying to obtain a negative drug test result will use synthetic drugs, as opposed to the nature drugs that they are designed to mimic.  First, synthetic drug testing is somewhat ineffective because the new chemicals in the market can't be detected in drug tests. Also, after 24-48 house, synthetic drugs can't be detected, whereas plant based drugs stay in the system longer.  So, those that expect to be tested in the military, treatment centers, employers, court system, athletics, etc are often motivated to use synthetics   Much like alcohol, even if synthetic drugs were legal, employer, the military, treatment centers, etc would test their people.  Why? Because just like alcohol use, they don't want their people high.  So, there goes your 'just legalize real marijuana' argument.  Sorry!

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