Last Thursday, the Arizona House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to pass House Bill 2167, which would expand the definition of dangerous drugs to include ten chemicals commonly used in "herbal incense," also known as "spice" and "synthetic marijuana."
This news comes more than a month after the federal Drug Enforcement Administration announced an emergency, nationwide, 12-month ban on five of the chemicals commonly used in spice.
A state ban on the heels of a federal ban might seem superfluous, but as we pointed out in our feature story "High Science" last year, there are hundreds of chemical compounds in existence (and likely more to be created) that purportedly have the same effects in humans as THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Thefederal ban includes only five of the most commonly used synthetic compounds in spice
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: JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47497, and cannabicyclohexanol. But there are numerous other compounds, including JWH-250 and JWH-081, that are not included in the federal ban. These unbanned compounds are still being used in spice blends, which are still being sold in local head shops.
Arizona State Representative Amanda Reeve (R), who introduced House Bill 2167, has not responded to our interview requests yet, but we're going to go out on a limb and say that legislators are trying to pass HB 2167 to ban some of the chemical compounds not accounted for in the federal ban. We'll post an update if and when Reeve gets back to us.
House Bill 2167 will require affirmative votes from three-quarters of the members in each house before it heads to Governor Jan Brewer for a signature. If and when Brewer signs the bill, it would take effect immediately.
For more synthetic marijuana coverage check out the Buzz Buzz archives.