U.S. Moves to Outlaw Synthetic Marijuana

FILE - This Feb. 15, 2010, file photo shows a package of K2 , a concoction of dried herbs sprayed with chemicals. Authorities in 13 states thought they were acting to curb a public health threat when they outlawed a form of synthetic marijuana known as K2: a concoction of dried herbs sprayed with chemicals. But even before the laws took effect, many stores that did a brisk business in fake pot had gotten around the laws by making slight changes to K2's chemical formula, creating knockoffs with names such as "K3," "Heaven Scent" and "Syn." (AP Photo/Kelley McCall, File)
AP Photo/Kelley McCall, File
The U.S. government is moving to outlaw herbal and chemical blends sold as synthetic marijuana at drug paraphernalia shops and on the Internet.

The Drug Enforcement Administration temporarily has classified as illegal drugs five chemicals used to make fake pot. The agency says the chemicals mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are not approved for human consumption.

The government says smokeable plant products coated with these chemicals are increasingly popular among teenagers and young adults and produce a marijuana-like high. It says products like "Spice," "K2," "Blaze" and "Red X Dawn" are labeled as incense to mask their intended purpose.

The ban would put the chemicals in the same category as heroin and cocaine. It would take effect in 30 days and last at least a year.

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