Synthetic Drug Ban Will Soon Become Law

Legislation aimed at banning fake pot (a.k.a. spice or K2) and imitation speed (a.k.a. "bath salts") is expected to become law soon now that it has been incorporated into the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, which the Senate approved almost unanimously on May 24. Last week the House approved a similar bill by a similar margin. The House version did not include the drug bans, but the difference should be easily reconciled in conference, since the House overwhelmingly approved the same provisions in a separate bill last December.

The Drug War Chronicle reports that adding the synthetic drug bans to the FDA bill overcame a hold placed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who objected to expanding the federal drug war and to the severity of the penalties. Paul did manage to insert an amendment that says the 20-year mandatory minimum for people who manufacture or supply a drug that causes "death or serious bodily injury" does not apply to the newly prohibited substances. But violators still face up to 20 years in prison for manufacture or sale and up to 30 years for a second offense.

The bill covers "cannabimimetic agents," defined as  substances that act on the CB1 receptor and fall into one of five structural classes, along with 11 stimulants used in "bath salts." Some of these compounds are also covered by state laws and by the "emergency" bans the Drug Enforcement Administration imposed in 2010 and 2011. There are many possible substitutes, some of which may soon show up at a head shop or gas station near you, assuming they are not there already

More on fake pot here. More on "bath salts" here.

Update: Roll Call reports that Rudy Eugene's cannibalistic attack on Ronald Poppo in Miami on May 26, widely attributed to some kind of "bath salts" even though the results of toxicological tests on Eugene's body may not be available for weeks, has boosted the odds that the final FDA bill will include the ban on synthetic drugs. "When they learn about this face-chewing situation in Florida," says Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), sponsor of the ban passed by the House last year, "hopefully that will change a few minds." It does not sound like that many minds need to be changed. "There is some opposition to the ban," Roll Call says. "Some civil libertarians believe drugs should not be banned or that such issues should be left up to the states." Given the attention that Congress usually pays to such concerns, this ban seems like a done deal.

"These drugs have odd psychotic effects on people," Dent says. "Out of this terrible tragedy in Florida, we hope this will bring about greater awareness and accelerate the need to enact meaningful legislation that will protect people from this poison." Which poison? It doesn't matter. Roll Call claims Eugene was under the influence of "a designer street hallucinogen," a description that does not seem to fit the substances covered by the bill. But if it turns out Eugene took a drug that's not on the list, Congress can always ban it later. If, as some have speculated, Eugene was sufferng from "cocaine psychosis," Congress can ban cocaine. Again. And if no traces of drugs are found in his body, I look forward to the federal War on Sobriety.

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  • anon||

    Advances in chemistry might as well be subject to Moore's law, and as such, this war is over. We've won.

    Now it's just a matter of time before the DEA realizes that they'll have to ban everything for kids to not be able to get high. Ironically, if they just legalized the real thing, there'd be no market for synthetics to chase down and make boogie-men out of.

  • Almanian...still||

    Ironically, if they just legalized the real thing, there'd be no market for synthetics...

    Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! What?! Say that again, please. Sloowwwly...

  • Libertarian||

    Sorry for the belated "thank you." But: Dear Kentucky, thank you for sending Rand Paul to the senate. Thank you!

  • Almanian...still||

    Second!

    Just visited KY recently. Lovely, lovely state.

  • ||

    How can it be? NutraSweet lives there, and he brings horror and grotesqueness to all that he touches, much like Sauron or Michael Bay.

  • Almanian...still||

    I think you have it reversed - he's like Dorian Grey's portrait, taking all the ugly into himself, and leaving only beauty and peacefulness in the countryside of the Great State of Kentucky.

    It's SO pretty there.

  • ||

    I don't see how that can be. NutraSweet emits perversion and stupefaction. He doesn't absorb it.

  • SugarFree||

    I'm delightful. Everyone knows you're the worst. You're the Britta of H+R. You are the opposite of Batman.

  • ||

    Batman is a bore. If being the opposite of Batman makes me The Riddler, I'll take it. I would also accept Egghead or King Tut. Or Catwoman.

  • ||

    In fact, one might call him the "Pulsar of Perversion" or the "Magnetar of Monstrosity". Or the "Soft Gamma Repeater of Flaccidity". The last one is probably the most accurate.

  • ||

    You went to Big Bone Lick, didn't you? You fucking pervert.

  • MJGreen||

    But, Rand Paul could singlehandedly reverse the 1964 Civil Rights Act!

    PANIC!! KILL!

  • Zeb||

    Well that's going to be bad for business for head shop owners.
    I have a friend who runs/owns (or ran, he may still be on hiatus) a head shop and made insane amounts of money selling the Spice, K2 and such. It literally became the great majority of his business.

    There is actually a brand (called "Liberty Spice" I think) which is made in NH and intended for sale only in NH in an attempt to avoid the commerce clause. It will be interesting to see if they try to keep going after this passes. Sadly, I doubt their prospects are good.

  • RBS||

    avoid the commerce clause

    Good one.

  • Almanian...still||

    COMMERCE CLAUSE: I LOOM LARGE!

  • Devil's Advocate||

    Angel Raich says that is not fucking likely.

  • Coeus||

    Paul did manage to insert an amendment that says the 20-year mandatory minimum for people who manufacture or supply a drug that causes "death or serious bodily injury" does not apply to the newly prohibited substances.

    So I can expect to see the head of Anheiser-Busch in federal pound-me-in-the-ass-prison soon, then. Yes?

  • robc||

    Belgian federal prison?

  • Coeus||

    Please. U.S. prison, of course. They extradite people for linking to shit on a fucking website.

  • Almanian...still||

    My 16 year old son introduced me to K2 - not use, but where they were selling it and the BAD KIDZOMG!! were buying it.

    So, being a former BAD KIDZOMG!!111! myself, I tried some for myself. It worked (for me).

    So, yes, by all means, BAN IT!

  • Tulpa the White||

    I'm curious as to how the ordinary guy on the street, who unlike Congresscreatures and cops cannot claim ignorance of the law, is supposed to know whether a substance triggers the CB1 receptor.

  • LarryA||

    The judge will tell him.

    [Clang]

  • Libertarian||

    OT: Keep the Meh girl. If that goofy red head with the "unzip your genes" t-shirt doesn't turn the worm, you're dead.

  • ||

    She's ok. What I hate are the slacker poses. I understand they're trying to "be the shirt" but stand up straight you dumb whore!

  • jason||

    Atleast the government is ready to declare the law on the syenthitcs drugs.

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