Feds to Add Synthetic Weed to Schedule I List

By Shawn Dwyer 01/27/14

The DEA plans to add the chemical compound to the list on a temporary basis until agencies initiate rules to make the move permanent.

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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency recently announced that coming February 10, synthetic marijuana will be classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.

The move came in early January when the drug agency made its intentions known in the Federal Register that it would designate synthetic cannabis with a special “temporary” status as a Schedule I drug based on its assessment that it poses an imminent hazard to safety and public health. “The vast majority of (synthetic cannabis) are manufactured in Asia by individuals who are not bound by any manufacturing requirements or quality control standards,” the DEA said. “There is an incorrect assumption that these products are safe.”

Because synthetic pot is produced in laboratories from unknown chemical compounds and not grown organically, authorities have warned against a variety of dangers that include frothing at the mouth, memory loss, seizures, and potentially death. Sometimes called Spice, K2, or Scooby Snax, synthetic pot has thus far been sold over the counter as a legal substance and typically marketed to the under-30 crowd. But the chemical makeup of the drug has largely remained unknown, since it's often manufactured in Asia with a merry-go-round of ingredients that are typically not fit for human consumption.

The new DEA rules will have the greatest immediate effect on commercial drivers, who stand to be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle if caught using or possessing the drug. Once the temporary designation takes effect, the feds will move to make synthetic pot a permanent member of the Schedule I list.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.