Congress moves to control synthetic cannabimimetic (K2/Spice) and designer cathinone (mephedrone/MDPV) drugs

HR 1254 (pdf) has passed the House.

This Act would criminalize possession of a range of compounds which activate the endogenous cannabinoid CB1 receptor. The language covers several structural classes as well as an extended list of, e.g. the JWH-xxx compounds. In essence this is another attempt on the analog front in which the DEA is not able to move quickly enough on specific new drugs that emerge within a general neuropharmacological class.

The bill also doubles the amount of time the DEA has to generate the support for a final rule, once an emergency action has been invoked.

The House Resolution next addresses 17 compounds in the likely stimulant/empathogen class, with most of them being cathinone derivatives. Readers of this blog will be familiar with the well known 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone) and 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) on this list.

One assumes that Chuck Schumer will be leading the charge on this in the Senate and that it will pass in short order...opposition to this sort of legislation is not usually robust among elected politicians.

8 responses so far

  • leigh says:

    the language seems to be written in order to preempt straight up sidechain substitutions of existing/popular compounds. and i'm not up on my synthetic chem enough to make an offhand comment about other classes of compound that could be exploited next, but there are plenty of compound classes that play nice with the CB1 receptor.

  • AJS says:

    It really makes you wonder why they don't go all-in and just try to make a law banning "any substance, device or practice intended to induce a pleasurable, altered state of consciousness" (except alcohol, obviously).

    That way, they never need to worry about new ways of getting high that haven't yet been made illegal ..... because getting high is now an illegal act, in and of itself.

  • Abel / David says:

    Hey, Bro - thanks for putting this up. I hadn't known about this but saw your tweet just before I got interviewed for next week's podcast at Skeptically Speaking (where you get a nice shoutout - Scicurious will be on live there on Sunday night at 6 pm MDT (Edmonton time)).

    In response to leigh, yes, it's going to be difficult to cover every single compound but this is pretty exhaustive. While specific compounds are listed, there's additional text that covers the core structure of each chemical class *plus* "whether or not further substituted in the [structure 1] to any extent, whether or not further substituted on the [structure 2] to any extent." That covers a large number of compounds, some that don't even exist.

    I'm cautious here not to become one of the #legalizeitmon crowd but let's step back for a second. The demand for cannabimimetics (but not mephedrone or MDPV) seems to be driven by ready accessibility of the products in convenience stores, smoke shops, and on the internet. Simply reading comments on all three of our blogs (me, DM, and leigh) makes it sounds like this stuff is largely unpleasant to experience. If marijuana were made legal, I'd hypothesize that much of the demand for these crappy compounds would disappear. That's a big assumption, of course.

    But now that marketers see how much cash can be made with synthetics, regulatory authorities are going to be stuck playing "whack-a-mole" and analytical crime labs are going to overburdened during a time of huge budget/personnel cuts.

    I'd love to see these compounds disappear as much as the next parent/politician/law enforcement person but I don't think that even federal regulation will cause that to happen if analytical labs can't keep up with prosecution.

    Legalizeitmon.

  • Exactly. Legalize the fucken weed that people have had millenia of experience with and for which the absolutely worst consequence of its use by far is the entanglement with the fascist drug-war police state. Yeah, some people will get addicted. Some people can't stop eating fucken hamburgers and french fries and fucke their lives up doing it, but we don't outlaw McDonalds, because we have the fucken common to sense to understand that the costs far outweigh the benefits. For obvious reasons, when it comes to the drug war, politicians and police just won't give up their massive penis substitutes--draconian penalties for victimless crimes, military armaments, and the power to stomp on the bill of rights.

  • Isabel says:

    "" and analytical crime labs are going to overburdened during a time of huge budget/personnel cuts."

    Yes, I can't even imagine how this is going to be enforced.

    "and that it will pass in short order...opposition to this sort of legislation is not usually robust among elected politicians."

    This is a scary, but probably true, comment.

    Exactly where is the need for an "emergency action"to be invoked?

  • Isabel says:

    I know you don't like long quotes DM, but I can't rewrite the words of a Mexican poet who lost his own son to the drug war:

    from http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/poet-javier-sicilia-an-uprising-of-drug-war-victims

    "Javier Sicilia: I believe that something like that should have been done from the very beginning. The politicians are formulating the drug problem as an issue of national security, but it is an issue of public health. If from the very beginning drugs were decriminalized, drug lords would be subjected to the iron laws of the market. That would have controlled them. That would have allowed us to discover our drug addicts and offer them our love and our support. That would not have left us with 40,000 dead, 10,000 disappeared and 120,000 displaced…

    The war is caused by puritan mentalities: like those of [Mexican President Felipe] Calderón and [former U.S. President George] Bush. In the name of abstractions—the abstraction of saving youth from drug addiction—they have brutally assassinated thousands of young people, while transforming others into delinquents.

    Albert Camus spoke a terrible truth. “I know something worse than hate: abstract love.” In the name of abstract love, in the name of God and Country, in the name of saving the youth from the drug, in the name of the proletariat, in the name of abstractions, our politicians and war policy makers have committed the most atrocious crimes on human beings, who are not abstractions, who are bones and flesh. That is what our country is living and suffering today: in the name of an abstract goodness, we are suffering the opposite: the horror of war and violence, of innocents dead, disappeared, and mutilated."

  • Anonymous Coward says:

    "Exactly where is the need for an "emergency action"to be invoked?""

    It goes back to the USA's government's three current go to statements: "Think of the children!", "Terrorists!", "Online content pirates!"

    The first one might actually fit in this case...the rest is just alarmist bullshit.

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