Reckless: DEA Applauds Congress for Escalating Prohibition

The Drug Enforcement Agency is applauding Congress for escalating prohibition with a new, broad ban on synthetic drugs.  But we must not forget that these substances would never have existed if pot were legal.

From the DEA press release today (emphasis their's):

 The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today commended House and Senate negotiators for agreeing on legislation to control 26 synthetic drugs under the Controlled Substances Act.  These drugs include those commonly found in products marketed as “K2” and “Spice.”

The addition of these chemicals to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act will be included as part of S. 3187, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act. Schedule I substances are those with a high potential for abuse; have no medical use in treatment in the United States; and lack an accepted safety for use of the drug.

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).  In addition to explicitly naming 26 substances, the legislation creates a new definition for “cannabamimetic agents,” creating criteria by which similar chemical compounds are controlled.

Basically, anything that binds to the cannibanoid receptors is banned, so that head shops will no longer sell "fake weed" products to people looking for a legal high -- one that won't show up in a piss test. Legalizing old-fashioned pot could solve the problem and decrease the demand for these more dangerous drugs, but the DEA would rather challenge chemists to create a new, legal drug that may be more dangerous than Spice. We learned from pot's prohibition that a ban will not stop people from using, nor will it stop chemists from synthesizing legal highs.

We also learned that adding marijuana to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act -- defined as "no medical use" -- has made researching the drug we know has medical benefits nearly impossible.  Cannibanoidreceptors do not exist explicitly for pot-smoking, and banning nearly everything that binds to them (including actual research chemicals) will effectively kill an entire area of research. But science is not a drug warrior's concern. The knee-jerk reaction to ban substances because of anecdotal evidence, not legitimate research, is evident in the DEA's own press release:

Newly developed drugs, particularly from the “2C family” (dimethoxyphenethylamines), are generally referred to as synthetic psychedelic/hallucinogens. 2C-E caused the recent death of a 19 year-old in Minnesota.

The substances added to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act also include 9 different 2C chemicals, and 15 different synthetic cannabanoids.

One death, despite thousands of users, is all the DEA needs to throw a ban on it. We will feel the consequences of this kind of reckless legislation later on down the road, when there are more drugs to arrest our kids for, and less knowledge about them for society to share.

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at June 19, 2012, 7:12am

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