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DEA Announces Emergency Spice Ban, Effective Immediately

Today, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration published a final notice on the federal register regarding the emergency ban of five chemicals commonly used in products known as "spice," "herbal incense," and "synthetic marijuana." 

The emergency ban, which was announced last November, takes effect today. Five chemical compounds -- JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47, 497, and cannabicylohexanol -- are now illegal to possess or sell without a special DEA license. 

In the press release issued by the DEA, they state "This emergency action was necessary to prevent an imminent threat to public safety."

"Since 2009, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison control centers, hospitals and law enforcement across the country regarding these products," said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. "Makers of these harmful products mislead their customers into thinking that 'fake pot' is a harmless alternative to illegal drugs, but that is not the case. Today's action will call further attention to the risks of ingesting unknown compounds and will reduce the number of emergency hospital admissions of young people brought in for ingesting these dangerous chemicals."

The five spice chemicals are designated Schedule I substances, the most tightly controlled category in the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs are deemed to have no accepted medical use. The emergency ban will be in place for at least one year, with a possible six month extension, while DEA gathers data for a permanent ban.

The DEA's announcement comes just days after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill into law that bans ten chemical compounds commonly used in spice.