This blog will discuss the current drive by the U.S. Government and state legislatures to outlaw synthetic marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is a substance typically sold as incense under names like K2, Wicked, Spice, Gold, and Genie. The incense packaging indicates that it is not for human consumption, however, smoking this incense produces a high very similar to marijuana. This high occurs because the incense contains common non-narcotic herbs that are sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids that are similar to the active ingredient in marijuana. Currently, this substance may be legally bought and sold throughout Pennsylvania but lawmakers are looking to change that.House Bill 176 recently passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and is pending consideration in the Senate. The legislation names six cannabinoids, all similar to the active ingredient in marijuana, that are easily created in laboratories and added to non-toxic herbal blends to create fake pot. The legislation is under consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee and would add fake pot to the list of controlled substances the law has determined have “high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.” The new law would classify this synthetic pot as a Schedule I drug. Read the text of the addition here
.On November 24, 2010, the Drug Enforcement Administration filed Notice of Intent to Temporarily control the chemicals used to create “fake pot.” This Notice of Intent is the first step in a process that allows the DEA to temporarily outlaw substances pending a final determination of their impact on society’s health and welfare. According to the DEA’s press release
, fifteen states have enacted laws banning one or all of these chemicals. These bans and the current DEA concern stem from the increased calls from emergency rooms and individuals to poison control centers regarding ingestion of these chemicals.