Thursday, December 2, 2010

Feds move to ban chemicals used to make 'fake pot'

Feds move to ban chemicals used to make 'fake pot'
November 24, 2010
"Fake pot" is often labeled as "incense"
The emergency ban will give the DEA a year to study fake pot safety
Synthetic marijuana sales started in stores and online two years ago
The DEA says reports of illnesses from smoking fake pot are increasing

Washington (CNN) -- "Fake pot" products that give a marijuana-like high could be illegal in another month as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration takes emergency action to ban chemicals used to make them.

"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," the DEA said in a news release Wednesday.

Synthetic marijuana is made of plant material coated with chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops that sell drug paraphernalia and over the internet, the DEA said.

"Since 2009, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding these products," the DEA said.

The "fake pot," marketed under brand names including "Spice," "K2," "Blaze" and "Red X Dawn," is often labeled as "incense," White House Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske said.

"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," he said.

The emergency ban will be in place for a year as federal officials study whether the products and chemicals should be permanently controlled, it said. Fifteen U.S. states have already taken action to control one or more of the five chemicals used to produce synthetic marijuana.

The ban cannot take effect until at least 30 days after the DEA notice was announced in the Federal Register, which happened Wednesday.

The chemicals, which were used in research, have not been approved for human consumption, and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process, the DEA said.

The five targeted chemicals are identified as JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47497 and cannabicyclohexanol.

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