- Mystery sign poster hits Washington state town: ‘It’s OK to say Merry Christmas’
- Pope Francis forms commission to advise on sex abuse
- Anthony Weiner on radio? Cumulus says, ‘Never, ever’
- Executive order: Obama ups green-energy mandate on feds to 20 percent
- GOP launches candidate training: How to talk to women
- N.Y.’s Rockefeller Center lights up, as Bloomberg flicks on 76-foot Christmas tree
- Northern Ireland turns to ‘Game of Thrones’ to draw in tourists
- Washington woman live-tweets husband’s horrific car death
- China City of America mulled for New York — with $65M tax dollars
- Yemen defense ministry rocked by suicide bomber, gunfire
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 2013 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 email@example.com.
- Young millennials shun Obamacare, creating risky imbalance
- Almost 1.5 million deemed eligible for Medicaid in October alone: Obama administration
- Federal judge set to decide Obamacare battle over subsidies
- Diagnosis: Health site better, but needs work
- Lawmakers on both sides doubt Obamacare website troubles over
Latest Blog Entries
- Tensions hit boiling point over Obamacare enrollment figures, error rates
- Young, uninsured adults vital to Obamacare are not keen on enrolling: New Harvard poll
- Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox will promote Obamacare at Mall of America
- HealthCare.gov employs a new look once again
- Rep. Gwen Moore: Supreme Court needs to 'rule on the side of women'
- CURL: 'Mission Accomplished' for Obamacare
- American teacher shot and killed at Benghazi international school
- NAPOLITANO: Liberty, the wellspring of capitalism and charity
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Pentagon may give recruits 'a shot to start over' after shameful social media posts
- Democratic infighting erupts over 'we can have it all' fantasy on entitlements
- HARPER: 'Knockout game' not a myth to liberal Sharpton
- Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Inside the Ring: China targeting U.S. spy flights amid escalating tensions
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.