DEA Enacts Federal Ban On 'Marijuana-Like' Herbal Products Sold Over The Counter

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today, as anticipated, exercised its ‘emergency scheduling authority’ to criminally prohibit the possession and sale of chemical agents contained in so-called ‘fake’ herbal marijuana products, commonly sold over the counter under the brand names ‘K2’ and ‘Spice.’ The agency had initially announced its intent to outlaw the chemicals last November.
The specific compounds prohibited under the new DEA ban are: JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol. Each of these compounds is now placed in the same category as heroin under federal law.
“Except as authorized by law, this action makes possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the United States,” the DEA stated in a press release. “This emergency action was necessary to prevent an imminent threat to public health and safety.”
The agency says that the federal ban will remain in effect for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) “further study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled.”
The chemicals in question are synthetic cannabinoid agonists. Once ingested, they interact with endogenous cannabinoid receptors to elicit certain physical and euphoric effects associated with the ingestion of marijuana. They are added to inert herbs to temporarily induce euphoria in the user.
Though NORML takes no official position regarding the use or regulation of these synthetic products, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano issued the following statement:

“The popularity of these products is a predictable outgrowth of criminal marijuana prohibition. 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.
“Since most manufacturers of these products reside overseas and are not subject to federal laws and regulations, it is unlikely that the DEA’s action – as well as the similar bans in other states – will in any way halt the dissemination, use, or misuse of these products by the public. Most likely, the clamp down will likely only make the situation more dangerous – from both a legal standpoint and from a health standpoint – to the consumer.

127 thoughts

  1. This is such a waste of time. If you look at the original research for these compounds these “spice” companies will just (as they already have) move down the list away from the banned ones. Chemists have their jobs for a reason, they are very smart. You can continue to tweak the structures making new ones to add to the list essentially forever. So our tax dollars are being spent just to keep the chemists on their toes, thats it.

  2. I’ve been clean from marijuana in my system for almost a year. I have a couple g’s of k2 left in my Grizzly case. I went to re-up yesterday and found out this news… I’m not being too conservative : ( Time to make that switch yet again. The only reason I smoked K2 instead was because of its ease to purchase and not having to wait. It felt kind of col to be free of any urine tests. Now, after my first check from my new job…. I will have to get ripped off by some shady dude who is not only going to over charge but pinch the bag as well… potent ish though. I never ever overdosed and have literally smoked hundreds of grams and burned through 100’s/ I was glad to support my local smoke shop too… oh well

  3. I almost never agree with the DEA, but on this I kinda do, these synthetically enhanced herbs have not been tested for side effects or safety. The real problem here is the illegal status of marijuana itself, which has shown to be the safest drug (if it even qualifies as a drug) on Earth. If marijuana were legal, these dangerous substitutes for marijuana would never have been made and put on the market, who would buy a substitute when they could legally buy the real thing?
    Overall, the DEA needs to be shut down completely, just as the drug Czar’s office needs to be disposed of too. What we need is a system of treatment and education for addicts of heroin, cocaine, meth, etc. Incarceration only produces criminals from what were once law abiding citizens that enjoy a little weed now and then and out of people with a substance abuse problem that need treatment, not prison. Face it, over 95% of all addicts would prefer not to be addicts, but putting them in prison is not the answer, treatment is and marijuana has been used successfully in the treatment of many former addicts, who then can choose to keep using marijuana or not because the marijuana is not addictive. (like, say, methadone)

  4. Why would anyone want to smoke K-2 and SPICE when good MARIJUANA is everywhere. True “POTHEADS” wont touch that crap.

  5. So the DEA will study synthetic marijuana for a year but won’t study the real thing?
    That sucks.

  6. So since when can the DEA make law? What is going on here…this is a dangerous presidence….when the minority ( and not a law making body) can force thier opinions upon the American people we no longer have law and order… just a dictatorship. Good bye America, hello comunistic dicatorship.
    The only reason people(mostly kids) used spice and alike was because it was legal. Now people will just keep using it and weed…banning it makes no difference except to what side of the law your on now.
    IDIOCY!
    End our criminal government!

  7. 54.webee Says:
    March 2nd, 2011 at 12:44 pm
    Why would anyone want to smoke K-2 and SPICE when good MARIJUANA is everywhere. True “POTHEADS” wont touch that crap.
    True, but it is OUTRAGEOUS and a REPEAT of what is already wrong with prohibiting alcohol or tobacco or pot. Next will be your cuppa coffe or cuppa tea. Then chocolate.

  8. [Paul Armentano responds: “Under what authority do they possess the rights to do such a thing?” Under the authority granted to DEA by Congress: “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.”]
    Well crap Paul…they can do this til the cows come home with anything they dont like.
    As my name implies…this isnt the America we all think it is..or lead to believe it is.

  9. [Paul Armentano responds: “Under what authority do they possess the rights to do such a thing?” Under the authority granted to DEA by Congress: “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.”]
    Indeed – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlled_Substances_Act
    Thanks for the response!
    Perhaps it’s time we revisited The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 and the CSA of 1984.
    We need to address its processes in a more skeptical perspective.
    I think people should know more about these two aspects of our law enforcement in greater detail so they can truly understand how absurd the DEA and prohibition systems really are!
    NORML needs its own National TV show! It would allow us the ability to truly reach out to people in a way never thought possible. We need to truly start spreading the knowledge.
    During the times when these policies were enacted, most of the general public didn’t even have PC’s. So information was short. Most were only aware of what the newspapers and media on TV were promoting at the time. The government was well aware of this and took full advantage of the situation to embed itself into our lives.
    What I really want to know, is who authorized the enactment of the CSA? Who ACTUALLY voted for this? I’m having a hard time believing that the American people voted in favor of such an act. Apparently only Congress was the voting body on this bill. How is this possible? How and Why is it allowed? Why do we let it continue?!
    This is the kind of secrecy we need to address. Our federal employees are enacting laws and setting policies without consulting with the American people, at all! This is a disgrace and is every bit of illegal as it comes.
    These loop-hole bills and acts create situations where pure dictatorship is masked by the illusion that the bill was placed before the American people and voted upon. When in reality, only Congress was even allowed to read the bill at the time of decision making.
    We need to get more involved in the governing process people!!!!!!!

  10. It wouldn’t surprise me if the DEA themselves created K-2.
    Think about it for a minute. What better way to make their organization seem useful and truthful?
    Create a new kind of smokeable, easy to obtain substance that is similar to other smoked substances and then push it out into stores across the globe under the guise of some strange foreign company.
    Think about it. How would such a substance have made it to the shelves of stores so fast without authorization from the FDA or any other organization?
    Then simply take heed of the complaints from parents when the youth get a hold of it by acting accordingly; ban the substance, provide some hoopla BS reports of the chemicals inside it and once again appear as a compassionate organization which cares about the health of our nation and its youth…
    It all seems a bit strange if you ask me. This whole K-2 thing.
    K-2, A possible public morale boost for the DEA?
    It may not be so far fetched…

  11. As if they the government have nothing better to do . Than outlaw something that USED to be LEAGLE . Its not like there is no starving people or lack of meadical care or houesing in the GREAT UNITED STATES OF AMERICA .. It is time to quite imposing LAWS just so a FEW heads of the Pharmicutial companies can make the all mighty dollar!!!!!! REMEMBER ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT CANNABIS PERSICUTION. Merri The Ganja Fairy

  12. The irony is lost on them, issuing a ban because of an imminent threat… on a product that is almost a decade old.
    The fact is, the stuff has been available and society is still here. I am happy they shoot themselves in the foot by claiming this was a threat.
    I am about to go smoke a mixture of JWH-018 and crushed vaporized cannabis. I find it an effective treatment for my depression. Perhaps it is the full agonist nature of the chemical. I feel fully functional on a very low dose, and I actually like it better than the marijuana.
    So, thanks for making it illegal. Now i guess its back to the Zoloft. Thanks for helping me move to a drug that is processed in my kidneys and makes me have diarrhea. I can’t thank you enough for helping me choose what i can put in my body so that I may live.
    Really, I can’t.

  13. The main reason, or atleast in my state, they are trying to make it illegal, in their words, “to save our children”. 1st of all anything in the name of a child in relation to DEA or government is usually a nice way to get the idiots who dont pay attention nor care to do their own research to jump on the bandwagon. Our nation as a whole has a BIG problem with inciting panic and hysteria over small things. As if to make us all concentrate on the small things and forget the big things like war and the economy. Personally I believe,as with weed, they want to make it illegal so the government can make money off the restitution offenders are required to pay I.E. probation, drug classes and court costs. However they dont stop to think that this product, realistically, keeps struggling tobacco stores and gas stations going financially, it’s added revenue to the region and prevents the added cost of prisoners who would, under other circumstances such as marijuana possession, be housed, fed, medicated all on us, the tax payers, dime. Not to mention weed and the synthetic weed have many benefits that would also bankrupt or seriously injure the pharmaceutical companies of the US that make drugs such as Xanax, Paxil, Phenergen(anti nausea), Vicodin and other chemicals that have more side effects than benefits. And lastly it would put a damper on the alcohol manufacturers. And what do all these big corporations have in common? They all “donate” to the politicians “campaign fund”. It’s a sad, vicious circle of money and power, and as usual us “smokers” get the short end of the stick up the Government’s ass, while Meth and Crack are genuine drugs that should be “cracked down on” as they have these side effects claimed by the supporters to ban the synthetic weed. Our country is screwed up, I’m half tempted to move to Canada.

  14. [Paul Armentano responds: “Under what authority do they possess the rights to do such a thing?” Under the authority granted to DEA by Congress: “The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984.”]
    SO THE CONGRESS GIVES TO THE DEA,
    A POWER THAT THE CONGRESS DID NOT EVER HAVE FOR ITSELF.
    if you believe that THAT BULLSHIT IS VALID,
    i would be glad to give you london bridge, the white house, the pyramids, france, and the moon,
    NONE OF WHICH I AM IN POSESSION OF.
    you cannot give away what you do not have.
    you cannot give away WHAT IS NOT YOURS.
    –unless you STEAL IT.
    THEY STOLE OUR RIGHTS, AND GAVE THEM AWAY TO THE DEA, THEREFORE; IT IS INVALID !!

  15. RE: 54. webee Says:
    “Why would anyone want to smoke K-2 and SPICE when good MARIJUANA is everywhere. True “POTHEADS” wont touch that crap.”
    I can think of a couple of reasons, right off the top of my head.
    (1) Anyone who is regularly tested for cannabis consumption (pre-employment or employment screening, 7th – 12th graders who are currently tested for drugs in order to qualify for extra-curricular activities, or persons on probation or parole.
    Remember, metabolites of cannabis can be detected in a user as long as 3 or 4 months later with current testing methods — not so with “Spice” or “K2”. The “high” experienced sort of resembles that of (really bad) cannabis, and cannot be detected by any usual and ordinary methods. The draconian DEA Police State has forced people into using poor alternatives to cannabis, and now the DEA has adopted a new proscribed substance. The DEA’s violent game of whack-a-mole, using billy clubs and assault rifles against non-violent victimless drug “offenders” continues anew …

  16. Even though I hate the DEA and their policies, I can’t say banning synthetic marijuana bothers me personally very much. Compared to the real thing, it probably, almost certainly, is harmful and dangerous.
    If real marijuana were to be legalized, the synthetic crap would never have become an issue… The only reason people were using it instead of the real thing is because the want the marijuana type high without failing a drug test…
    Just legalize the real thing and suddenly a multitude of problems that currently exist in our society would disappear.

  17. So War has begun, The DEA should be gathered and hung or some bullets in their heads, it is time for Justice and Tax Reform.
    Obama do the best you can do, to prevent a civil war of the population.
    Free Cannabis a common plant in a worldwide garden

  18. I can’t wait for the DEA to ban NUTMEG! That shit is soooooo dangerous!!!! Anyway, I just finished my ninth beer at the local watering hole so I need to drive home, slap the wife, beat the kids and kick the dog. I should smoke a joint so I would resort to such actions. But weed is illegal and I dare not to break the law! Oh well…..

  19. what I like about herbal incense
    1) it is legal, allowing one to feel good about trying to follow rules with less sense of dealings of legal stress with cannabis
    2) all the Bullshit that occurs with the cannabis trade was practically eliminated .. no waiting, no worry about getting robbed when purchasing and various other sorts of stress
    3) it helped the economy–
    4) the amount of time to baseline was shorter than cannabis– meaning the amount of time one feels intoxicated was shorter
    5) it allows people of all walks of life who no longer can consume cannabis for job reasons, future job reasons, or whatever the reason.. to rediscover the joy of smoking herbs
    6)It defeated the argument chaos would ensue if cannabis because RE-legalized
    Keep up the fight– keep smoking– and Thanks Allen for being a GREAT director of NORML

  20. yea the people saying that DEA has no right to do this , don’t sound very smart. I’m glad the DEA has the authority to execute emergency bans for testing – if you do research on JWH online, you will quickly find that nothing comprehensive or verified as accurate exists. It is all simply debate, with equal statements to counteract all those made.
    Community is in desperate need of test results, for naphthalene ring metabolism and potential of gluon abnormality (ie how cancerous if at all). That’s aside from how it might affect liver, or become resident in fat cells(more cancer concern here), etc.
    It’s a good thing.
    PLUS – it means everyone in America who cannot smoke the real green, will be “choked” and thus desire it all the more. A means for reform is on the way(finally i hope), or we are being even more suppressed(can’t last too long @ current rate & overall national disgust w/ government at present).
    Either way good things are coming 🙂

  21. Just a side note, the one thing that has been proven true by Huffman’s research, is that JWH (in the amount of over 3x the amount to overdose in human) caused rats to die of cancer, tumors and all.
    Of course JWH will be metabolized by humans very differently — but dammmmnn yo, some risky business 😛

  22. Jake
    there are several JWH derivatives the ban includes some other chemicals as well
    If you oppose prohibition then I dont see why you would favor a ban on herbal incense

  23. Does anyone even bother to look into how these herbal smokes are made? They are extracted from lichen using essential oils, the result is much more potent than actual THC and it even has physically addictive properties that arent in MJ. in short the only thing that made Spice better than the real thing was that it didnt show up on a drug test and to me that is the real reason that it is being banned. The government likes to be able to find out what we have been doing if they choose to do so, soon people who use even recreational drugs like pot wont even be able to leave their house or drive a car without living in fear. There are thousands of drugs that have no schedule and more are discovered everyday, they will continue to substitute the real thing until we can find a way to regulate our drug problem. Look at the problem with these “bath salts” that shit is so dangerous but people shove it up their nose all day long, makes me sick

  24. Someday, cannabis might actually be legal in the USA, legal like beer or even like tomato plants, like it was before Prohibition. I would go further to say that no plant or plant extract should ever be illegal. The DEA’s only reason for existence is the draconian persecution of users of now-illegal drugs, as a matter of law enforcement rather than at most a medical concern between a doctor and his patient. If the Swiss can find a quite workable solution, why can’t the USA?
    The rise of the Police State in the USA, between the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, has a lot more to do with the absolute power of the State over it’s citizens and a lot less to do with the prevention of harm to society.
    I have a solution to the continued employment of the DEA, the TSA, and every other segment of the goose-stepping Police State — send them, lock stock & barrel to Afghanistan. Their unmeasured violence against unarmed civilians there will likely be met with more resistance than they have experienced here, and our long-suffering National Guard troops could use the extra time with their families.

  25. @#84 … the substrates upon which the JWH compounds are laced, and the ACTUAL compounds, are different topics. That’s partly the problem here. People are getting sick off smoking the herbal stuff used as a vehicle for the JWH.
    JWH will not hurt you, but smoking a bunch of organic matter will definitely give your lungs pause.
    I use the pure chemical form of the cannibinomemetics, a white powder that is like powdered sugar… and the substrate i use for smoking? Cannabis leaf that has been twice passed through the vaporizer and has very little active chemical left.

  26. I will say this whole k2 ban thing is just a way for the dea to say were smarter than the people get used to it. On the whole theory of govt releasing as a trial test on americans….think this…if they find jwh 018 has regulated medicinal use. Then they can do away with medic marijuana all togather and control this and give this as a substitute. Yes I believe legalize marijuana is the solution ecnomically and health wise. But maybe the government is looking for a way to study and control a synth canni. Just like most hardcore script drugs and docs can wite scripts that way. Idk. My 2 cents. I have been making my own herbal incense for 8 months now. Smoke morning and night. And have yet to expierence any side effects from jwh-018. I’m sorry but this is all a way for america to say we fucked up my keeping marijuana illegal…our bad. But were not going to admit it and reverse itbecause then we will have to make everything else legal now.

  27. How can they LEGALLY outlaw something BEFORE they do their “testing.” Last time they tested ganja, they suffocated monkey’s and said it was the ganja that killed their brain cells. What will they think of next? Those tax-sucking bastards CAN NOT BE TRUSTED.

  28. I’d have to agree with everyone that stated that it does cause more harm, in that of experience the most. I’ve been an ongoing smoker of what some would consider illegal and for a short time (through fear of legal actions) I began to smoke “legal” alternatives, those of which have not only caused harm to my lungs but a psychological problem that I have also seen in many others that partake to these alternatives. A very good friend of mine has never smoke marijuana in his life but started to smoke the “legal” herbs and within a matter of months (not having any other medical or psychological issues) started to show signs of severe depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies along with other issues that have been diagnosed (not good at all). As a collective of active reformist, artist, and intellects, we took initiative and weened him into smoking marijuana instead of taking the prescribed medications (due to the knowledge of harm that they can cause, he was addicted to xanax and another pill they gave him causing problems with his family, schooling and friends). After one week of smoking marijuana his grades became outstanding, his family was finally able to talk to him with no problems and his depression completely subsided. Obviously his normal emotions kept like sadness and confusion to some situations but his outlook on life and all that surrounds him has greatly improved. We cannot really prove any of this to anyone that can viably do anything to change these laws in the state due to what some may consider an illegal experimentation and consumption, but we can point this out to those that care to listen, like all of you at NORML and all who choose (and I mean choose in a very serious manner) that believe/know the benefits that “real” marijuana and marijuana products can have.
    Thank you for your time and peace within,
    Everyone at Psy/Crap Studio and MaxiChrismas enterprise

  29. Since weed is good, and D.E.A. sucks nuts, replace D.E.A. with ganja and the number of pot arrests will be zero. (obviously)

  30. The DEA are running around intentionally blind like a child in a candy shop. They never know or care about how or what their doing. There is alcohol,tobacco and those TV commercials which advertise these medicines which have seriously harmful side effects including DEAth. Why are they so against marijuana that has a great and proven track record in more ways then they can count. For our safety and health? I don`t think so! Where is the Freedom of Choice in this?

  31. I have been using legal herbal smoke to be able to pass a drug test, so I could get a job. I have been trying to do my best to manage my bipolar without taking the medications that hurt my stomach. They have came out with a new variation of it, and I will continue to use this, however I already failed that drug test, probably because I didn’t get a new pipe and soaking in alcohol wasn’t good enough… oh well… I have a 130 IQ and I have to work at McDonalds because the DRUGS the Dr’s give me hurt in many ways. This is America, where I am not free, and I am unable to make my own decisions. If I ever make a new war device, I will not share it with my country, I will give it to another country who supports my freedoms, and is against oppression, much like Einstine did when he moved to America.

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