- Donald Rumsfeld has ‘no idea’ if he paid taxes correctly
- Bradley Manning named honorary grand marshal of San Francisco Pride parade
- Look out PayPal: Facebook working toward mobile payments system
- U.S. rebukes Iran’s U.N. envoy pick over 1979 embassy attack
- Stoned mom avoids jail after driving 12 miles with baby on roof
- More than 100 ‘inappropriate’ encounters between NYC school staffers, students since 2009: report
- Joe Biden to Boston bombing survivors: ‘America will never, ever stand down’
- FBI failed to throughly vet Boston bombing suspect after Russian lead, report finds
- Atlanta Braves flooded with Hank Aaron hate mail: He’s a ‘scumbag’
- University: Help, our campus is too white
D.C. joins states on synthetic drug ban
First appeared in U.S. 2 years ago
The nation’s capital has joined more than 40 states in calling for a ban on synthetic marijuana and bath salts, a pair of drug genres that have raised eyebrows among law enforcement, parents and antidrug advocates alike because of their off-the-shelf accessibility and frightening effects.
While voters in Colorado and Washington state decided this month to legalize small amounts of naturally growing marijuana, an increasing number of lawmakers have decided in recent years to ban drugs that incorporate a hodgepodge of man-made ingredients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The drugs targeted by the new laws include synthetic cannabinoids with product names such as “K2” or “Spice” and substituted cathinones, or “bath salts,” which initially were suspected in a high-profile May 26 attack in Miami on a homeless man whose face was practically eaten off before police shot his attacker.
The Drug Enforcement Administration describes synthetic marijuana as a mix of herbs and spices that are sprayed with a synthetic substance similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in traditional marijuana. It is often marked as incense but can be smoked and causes “paranoia, panic attacks and giddiness,” the agency says.
First appearing in the U.S. in late 2010, bath salts are similar to amphetamines and cocaine, according to the DEA. They usually are sniffed or snorted and can cause a rapid heart beat, paranoia and delusions. Among early high-profile incidents involving the drug, one user in Louisiana committed suicide in November 2010 because he thought police were after him. Another user in 2011 was found wandering the West Virginia woods in women’s underwear after he had stabbed a goat.
The drug is a member of the “white crystal” family of designer drugs that includes crystal meth and PCP, and have quickly gained notoriety as cheap, potent, addictive, readily available and occasionally lethal.
“They are completely invented and manufactured without any regulation, without any quality control, with nothing,” said D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, which forwarded a bill Thursday to restrict the drugs in the District. “At least with a natural ingredient, you know what it is. Whereas with synthetics you have not a clue what it is and it’s sold [as] incense – and the person can kill themselves.”
In July, federal law enforcement launched a nationwide crackdown that netted more than 90 importers, middlemen and retailers of synthetic marijuana and bath salts.
But state lawmakers have grappled with the best way to treat these drugs, since they defy traditional classifications and feature a mix bag of alterable chemical compounds. Initial legislation in 2009 and 2010 targeted specific products, but new variants of the drugs prompted states in the past two years to impose wholesale legislative or administrative bans on the genre of drugs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
In October, Alabama reclassified Spice and 23 other substances in the same Category 1 list of drugs as marijuana and cocaine. Similar measures went into effect in South Carolina in October, in Michigan in July and in New Jersey in March.
Mr. Mendelson said the District has been mulling various bills to ban the drugs for about three years. He rejected any notion that the move to control the substances went against the grain of national tends to liberalize possession of drugs, such as marijuana out West.
“That’s a separate issue,” he said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Many states avoiding paying for glitchy health care sites
- Joe Biden hails strength of survivors of Boston bombings, says America will never stand down
- Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick recalls day of Boston bombing one year ago
- Senior House Democrat open to GOP Obamacare fix
- No Jolly-Sink rematch in Florida this year: report
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By returning to goodness, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- Russian fighter jet buzzes U.S. Navy destroyer in Black Sea
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Al Qaeda mocks U.S. in 'extraordinary' Yemen gathering; experts fear C.I.A. caught flat-footed
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Wal-Mart forced to apologize for 'mistake' favoring English-speaking shoppers
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes