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The DEA adds four synthetic cannabinoids to its banned list

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Why do people smoke fake marijuana — sometimes called K2 or spice — versus the real and safer McCoy served up from mother nature? To pass employers’ urine drug tests? To avoid being detected as easily as cops can detect marijuana’s unique stink when smoked? To use when the real McCoy is not available? For new kicks? Because someone passes it around for free? To try to avoid a conviction in case the police seize it, in the event it cannot be proven to be unlawful?

Do not quickly blame K2 discoverer John Huffman for sales and use of Spice. CBS online quotes him as saying "People who use it are idiots."

Why do people sell fake marijuana? Why do people sell anything, whether legally or not? To make money in our capitalist society.

What would happen if marijuana were legalized and not a basis for adverse employment consequences? Then the fake marijuana would go down the tubes. Until then, the risky (for sellers) and expensive (for law enforcement) cat and mouse game will continue where manufacturers will continue to alter their fake marijuana ingredients in the hopes of passing under the criminal law radar, and where narcs and lawmakers will keep trying to amend laws and add to listed banned substances in an effort to catch up with the manufacturers and sellers. A better way is not to ban such products, but instead to let the government and any desirous private organizations and individuals warn people of the risks of using such products, just as we have known for decades that airplane glue huffing might give a high, but also a headache and longterm harm.

Effective February 10, 2014, the DEA added four synthetic cannabinoids as schedule I controlled substances, which falls in the most serious category for drug prosecution purposes. The four substances are a chemist’s mouthful:
1-pentyl-1H-indole-3-carboxylate (PB-22; QUPIC); quinolin-8-yl
1-(5-fluoropentyl)-1H-indole-3-carboxylate (5-fluoro-PB-22; 5F-PB-22);
N-(1-amino-3-methyl-1-oxobutan-2-yl)-1-(4-fluorobenzyl)-1H-indazole-3-carboxamide (AB-FUBINACA); and N-(1-amino-3,3-dimethyl-1-oxobutan-2-yl)-1-pentyl-1H-indazole-3-carboxamide (ADB-PINACA). 79 FR 7577-01 (Feb. 10, 2014).

The foregoing four substances join the following substances that already are listed by the DEA as Schedule I substances in the form of synthetic cannabinoids:

(1) 5-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)-2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol
(CP-47,497)7297(2) 5-(1,1-dimethyloctyl)-2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol
(cannabicyclohexanol or CP-47,497 C8-homolog)7298(3)
1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-018 and AM678)7118(4)
1-butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-073)7173(5) 1-hexyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole
(JWH-019)7019(6) 1-[2-(4-morpholinyl)ethyl]-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-
200)7200(7) 1-pentyl-3-(2-methoxyphenylacetyl)indole (JWH-250)6250(8)
1-pentyl-3-[1-(4-methoxynaphthoyl)]indole (JWH-081)7081(9)
1-pentyl-3-(4-methyl-1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-122)7122(10)
1-pentyl-3-(4-chloro-1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-398)7398(11)
1-(5-fluoropentyl)-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (AM2201)7201(12)
1-(5-fluoropentyl)-3-(2-iodobenzoyl)indole (AM694)7694(13)
1-pentyl-3-[(4-methoxy)-benzoyl]indole (SR-19 and RCS-4)7104(14)
1-cyclohexylethyl-3-(2-methoxyphenylacetyl)indole 7008 (SR-18 and
RCS-8)7008(15) 1-pentyl-3-(2-chlorophenylacetyl)indole (JWH-203)7203.1 CFR §1308.11.

Imitation marijuana manufacturers and sellers might hope to take refuge in obtaining chemist reports showing the absence of DEA-listed substances in their imitation marijuana. However, those chemist reports are only as good as the chemists who create the reports, and the law allows for prosecuting controlled substance analogues even if they are not already listed.

For more on defending against a controlled substance analogue charge, see here. Sellers and manufacturers of imitation marijuana must be aware that the federal bail regime will treat their charges the same as cocaine for presuming no provision of bond pending trial if the court finds probable cause to believe the alleged crime was committed. The stakes are high to engage in such a business.