By Jacob Sullum
Yesterday the Drug Enforcement Administration said it plans to impose an emergency ban on the active ingredients in the marijuana substitutes known as K2 or spice. The products consist of dried herbs, ostensibly sold as incense, that have been sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids such as JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol. Starting one month from now, those chemicals, originally developed for research purposes, will be treated as Schedule I drugs, the most restrictive category under the Controlled Substances Act. “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,” said acting DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart. “Today’s action will call further attention to the risks of ingesting unknown compounds and will hopefully take away any incentive to try these products.” Because that’s what happens when you ban drugs: People stop using them.