“Spice” Manufacturers Change Recipe to Skirt State Laws Against Synthetic Drugs

Manufacturers of the synthetic version of marijuana known as “spice” are changing the recipe just enough to skirt state laws banning the substance, The Washington Post reports.

Makers of spice spray herbs with compounds that mimic marijuana’s active ingredient, THC. Some spice users experience hallucinations, seizures, vomiting, anxiety and an accelerated heart rate, the article notes.

In December, the U.S. House voted to ban more than 30 synthetic drugs, including spice. The Synthetic Drug Control Act would make it illegal to manufacture or dispense the drugs. The bill would also give the Drug Enforcement Administration more authority to put temporary bans on potentially hazardous drugs as they are being investigated. The bill has moved to the Senate.

According to the recent Monitoring the Future survey, one in every nine high school seniors (11.4 percent) reported using synthetic marijuana in the prior 12 months.

About 40 states regulate spice, according to the newspaper. Authorities have found that in some cases, the spice seized by police does not contain chemicals that are banned by state law. There are potentially hundreds of synthetic compounds that could be substituted for ones that are currently banned.

In some states, laws banning spice include a provision that prohibits chemicals that are intended to act in a similar way to the banned substances. But scientists say not enough is known about the new substances to prove they are similar to the original versions.

The drug is popular in part because most drug tests do not detect spice, and it is available on many websites, according to the article.

4 Responses to “Spice” Manufacturers Change Recipe to Skirt State Laws Against Synthetic Drugs

  1. BruceRTalbot | January 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Our current drug analogue laws at both the federal and (many) state levels should be able to control this issue. The problem is educating police and prosicutors on how to investigate and prosicute an analogue case. Kansas is currently prosicuting a Spice analogue case that should set the example.

  2. Sandra | January 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    This is another example of the inappropriateness of using the criminal justice system to deal with use, abuse, and addiction to and of drugs, which is a medical problem. Making drugs illegal and enforcing strict interdiction of them is ultimately useless (if it can be achieved at all), since when the profit margin on smuggling becomes too lean, another analogous substance will be smuggled: eg. Rx painkillers instead of heroin; spice instead of marijuana; crystal meth instead of crack.

    It’s interesting that the Friedmanite conservatives don’t apply market principles to drug cartels–they just keep giving them price supports.

  3. Samuel | January 7, 2012 at 11:59 am

    This is why drugs should be legal for adults. Probably not many would agree with me on this, because we are used to the system of feeling “safer”. We know by now that drug laws do not truly make us any safer, because most are willing to break these laws and if we are not, then we will be partaking in these analogue versions. It seems to me that the illegal versions of these drugs are much safer than these new untested research chemicals.
    For meth there is MDPV (“bath salts” which people are now injecting.
    For MDMA there is BK-MDMA
    For Ketamine there is methoxetamine (MXE)
    LSD there is Br-DFly
    There are countless other more dangerous chemicals that produce a similar high. The problem is that many of these arent technically analogues, so they cannot be classified as illegal through the analogue act.
    Also, when these are made illegal, there are more drugs out there that will produce a similar sensation.
    All in all, we need to understand that it is a natural right for human beings to put whatever it is that we choose into our bodies-dangerous or not. We do not need the government to make these decisions for us.

  4. Barry Lessin | January 8, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Perfectly said Sandra! Addiction is a public health issue and unfortunately American drug policies are based on moral agendas vs. policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights

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