"Fake pot" products have been experiencing a surge in popularity among young people. These products produce effects similar to those of marijuana and, up until now, were legal to purchase. Now the possession or sale of these products could result in drug charges.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has used its emergency powers to ban fake marijuana products, making the sale and possession of any of the five chemicals used to manufacture the products illegal for a minimum of one year.
During this time, the DEA will work with the Department of Health and Human Services to decide whether these chemicals will become a permanent fixture on banned controlled substances list. Chemicals placed on this list are frequently abused, unsafe and provide no medical value.
What exactly are these fake marijuana products? Some popular brands include K2, Red X Dawn and Spice. They consist of an herbal blend which is coated with synthetic chemicals. The products can be purchased online or at convenience stores or herbal shops. They are usually in packets and are often sold for around $35 per ounce.
The DEA ban comes on the heels of an increased number of reports of patients falling ill after using K2, a popular fake marijuana product. Some patients have complained of dangerously high blood pressure, hallucinations and increased heart rate.
Not everyone is a fan of the ban. The Drug Policy Alliance argues that the banning of these fake marijuana products will only create an illegal market for the drugs. According to Bill Piper, the alliance's director of national affairs, the government loses control over a drug when it outlaws it. Piper suggests the government regulate the drugs rather than ban them outright.
Source: USA Today "DEA bans K2, other 'fake pot' products," Donna Leinwand, 25 November 2010