National News

U.S. moves to make synthetic marijuana illegal

Posted November 24, 2010

— The federal government is moving to outlaw herbal and chemical blends sold as synthetic marijuana at head shops and on the Internet.

The Drug Enforcement Administration on Wednesday temporarily classified five chemicals used to make fake pot as illegal drugs. The agency says the chemicals mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are not approved for human consumption.

The government says smokeable plant products coated with these chemicals are increasingly popular among teens and young adults and produce a marijuana-like high. It says products like "Spice," ''K2," ''Blaze," and "Red X Dawn" are labeled as incense to mask their intended purpose.

"That is a marketing ploy. They know that people are going to use it for human consumption," DEA Special Agent Michael Sanders said Wednesday.

The ban would put the chemicals in the same category as heroin and cocaine. It would take effect in 30 days and last at least a year.

"I don't even know why it is sold. It's just a terrible thing," said Austin Walker, who nearly died in September when he smoked a brand of the herbal incense. 

Walker, 18, and Daniel Carr, 23, tried the product at Carr's parents' house in Cary. 

"Within minutes, we were hallucinating incredibly. I was having a seizure for a very long time. My friend was having really bad heart problems," Walker said Wednesday. 

Both men were taken to the hospital. 

Cary K2 Cary man recalls seizures from K2

"It was like a terrible nightmare. It didn't feel real, but there was so much pain involved, there was no doubt that it was definitely real," Carr said. 

The friends were among a group of people who reported frightening experiences with the product and urged lawmakers to take a closer look.

"Once they get time to actually study it and figure out its effects and all that kind of stuff, only good things can happen from here," Carr said. 

Sanders said the ban is about trying to keep a dangerous drug off the streets. 

WRAL News found six stores located in the Raleigh area that sell K2. Store owners declined to comment on Wednesday. 

John Huffman, a Clemson University chemist who developed the product while doing pharmaceutical research, said in September that the research did not shed any light on the safety of the product and that he is not responsible for its recreational use.


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  • joekathyjoekathy Nov 26, 2010

    Off label use, is the persons responsibility of their own. I can't imagine what kind of person decided this stuff looks good to smoke. One good thing will take care of the gene pool, over time we will have more intellectual persons. I say smoke the stuff if you must, but the risk is yours alone.

  • Bendal1 Nov 26, 2010

    Hey, all you whining pot smokers, you can always go smoke leaves, coffee grounds and yard clippings. They're probably safer than whatever it is you're currently smoking and with some imagination you'll probably get just as high.

    Oh wait, pot smokers don't have any imagination, courtesy of all those brain cells lost to smoking in the first place.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Nov 25, 2010

    This just in:
    Bev is going to ban bon bons!

  • Vietnam Vet Nov 24, 2010

    I've said this before... Did we as a country learn nothing from Prohibition? Prohibition was repealed, why? Because the demand for liquor was huge and created an entire subculture of criminals... Oh, wait, that's what we have now with the drug cartels. I say, legalize all this stuff and by doing that you remove the profit motive to the cartels, which will eventually put them out of business. Regulate and tax these substances and with that revenue stream begin making a real dent in our nation's multi trillion dollar debt. Laws are already in place to deal with impaired drivers etc. Instead of shipping all that cash out of the country start doing some good with it here instead.

  • davidgnews Nov 24, 2010

    So now they're going to drive the price from $20 to $500. As long as we have draconian drug laws, period, we're always going to have designer drugs.

    Get real. These stories are laced with lies and incomplete information. The beat goes on.......

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Nov 24, 2010

    I knew it wouldn't take long.
    I'll see you early next week to stock up on all you have left!

  • moth Nov 24, 2010

    They created this garbage (K2) because of a useless, dangerous and destructive prohibition against weed. So now they want to ban ALL substitutes also.....Good luck with that.

  • ajfuddermukker Nov 24, 2010

    There have been shown that some people get high regardless of what they smoke or take.

    This product needs to Bo outlawed like many other recreational pharmaceutical.
    As a matter of fact, all recreational pharmaceuticals, synthetic or natural, should be made illegal.

    There is no way that a recreational pharmaceutical can have a therapeutic result!

  • mikeyj Nov 24, 2010

    Not from here: Go ahead and smoke natural. Try pointsetta leaves. As for all the K2 and MJ legalize debate. Let her rip. It will definately thin the herds. If you try thepointsetta and get ripped, don't go braggin to your buddies. The rumors are what hurt K2. Everyone wants a better high! Legalize MJ and it won't be long before people are experimenting again with differant fertizers and soil additives. This will only again put MJ in the headlines because people start dying from the chemistry experiments by backyard growers. Enjoy you freedoms. I will enjoy the lighter commutes to work when people start dying off.

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc Nov 24, 2010

    I'm afraid we're all wasting our time with notfromhere. He believes in controlling other folks and limiting their freedoms, even though they've done nothing to restrict his. I don't think we could ever hope to have an open minded discussion with him. He's anti-freedom, what else can you say? It blows me away that I served in the military, put my life on the line to protect his freedom, yet he apparantly works hard to take mine away.

    Well, Happy Thanksgiving all! Even you notfromhere... I need to wrap up some loose ends before the holiday...