DEA Bans Chemicals Used to Make “Fake Pot”

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Invoking a temporary emergency order, the  DEA announced Tuesday that it was making it illegal to sell or possess five chemicals used to make  smokeable “herbal incense” commonly known as “fake pot.”

“Young people are being harmed when they smoke these dangerous ‘fake pot’ products and wrongly equate the products’ ‘legal’ retail availability with being ‘safe’,” DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said in a statement.

“Parents and community leaders look to us to help them protect their kids, and we have not let them down. Today’s action, while temporary, will reduce the number of young people being seen in hospital emergency rooms after ingesting these synthetic chemicals to get high.”

Under the temporary action, the products will remain illegal for at least a year while the DEA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study the issue. The DEA said the products are now designated as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category.

During the past couple years, the smokeable herbal products sold at stores, particularly drug paraphernalia shops and on the Internet,  have become increasingly popular among teens and young adults, the DEA said.

The products are often sold under such brands as “Spice,” “K2,” “Blaze,” and “Red X Dawn” and “are labeled as herbal incense to mask their intended purpose,” the DEA said.

The DEA said at least 16 states have taken action to ban one or more of these chemicals.

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