DEA to Ban 'Synthetic Marijuana'

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has enacted an emergency ban on five synthetic marijuana chemicals, The New York Times reported Nov. 24.

During the temporary ban, the DEA said they will research if the products should remain illegal, controlled substances permanently.

"Synthetic marijuana" -- which had been sold legally as incense under brand names such as "K2" and "Spice" -- is an herb-and-chemical compound that, when smoked, simulates the effects of the tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in marijuana.

“Makers of these harmful products mislead their customers into thinking that 'fake pot' is a harmless alternative to illegal drugs, but that is not the case,” said Michele M. Leonhart, the acting administrator of the DEA. "Today’s action will call further attention to the risks of ingesting unknown compounds and will hopefully take away any incentive to try these products."

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