Synthetic Marijuana Added to Controlled Substances List
Anne Arundel County Police have released the following information:
Effective July 10, 2012, legislation was enacted by Congress, which added a total of 26 synthetic drugs under the “Controlled Substances Act.” Synthetic marijuana has been sold under a variety of names such as “K2, K3, Spice and Genie.”
The addition of these chemicals to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act will be included as part of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act. Schedule I substances are considered to have a high potential for abuse.
In addition to scheduling the 26 drugs, the new law would double the length of time a substance may be temporarily placed in Schedule I from 18 to 36 months. Aside from explicitly naming 26 substances, the legislation creates a new definition for “cannabamimetic agents,” creating criteria by which similar chemical compounds are controlled.
Synthetic marijuana, which has been around since 2002, has become increasingly popular in the last few years and is often marketed throughout the United States as an herbal incense or potpourri. Product packaging indicates that the substance is “novelty incense” and is not for human consumption; however, the warning is not being taken seriously by many young people. Synthetic marijuana is usually smoked like conventional marijuana and the plant material itself is a mixture of dried herbs and flowers, some of which may have their own psychoactive effects. Some products consist of plant
material laced with synthetic cannabinoids, which mimic marijuana effects when smoked.
In recent years, there has been a steady increase in the number of reported cases to the emergency room and poison control centers. According to the DEA, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received 6,959 calls for synthetic marijuana incidents in 2011.
Those who manufacture sell or use synthetic drugs will be subject to the same penalties as other schedule I drugs such as cocaine and marijuana. Penalties include the following:
- Possession of one of the new Schedule I controlled dangerous substances: up to four years and/or a $25,000 fine.
- Distribution or possession with intent to distribute one of the new Schedule I controlled dangerous substances: up to 20 years and/or a $25,000 fine.
In addition, the State may seize and seek to forfeit cash, vehicles or other property associated with the possession or distribution of controlled dangerous substances.