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Is 'Fake Pot' (aka K2 or Spice) Illegal?

By Aditi Mukherji, JD | Last updated on

K2 or Spice -- commonly known as "fake pot" -- is made up of plant materials that are laced with synthetic marijuana compounds. They have become increasingly popular among teens and young adults, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

But is "fake pot" illegal?

In many of its compositions, the answer is yes.

3 'Fake Pot' Ingredients Now Illegal

The DEA recently illegalized the synthetic compounds UR-144, XLR11 and AKB48, which are often seen in "fake pot" products marketed as innocuous "herbal incense" or "potpourri," reports the Times Record News of Wichita Falls, Texas. These synthetic marijuana compounds are now categorized as Schedule I controlled substances, which means they've been designated as having a high potential for abuse with no medical use.

You don't want to get caught with these drugs, since simple possession of an ounce or less of a Schedule I drug can be punished by up to a $1,000 fine. Moreover, possession of more than an ounce can get you up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.

The DEA gave makers, sellers and those in possession of the drugs about a month to dispose of them or cease production, according to the Times Record News. But that was back in May, so the "grace period" is long gone.

Previous DEA Action

Several of the chemicals used to make the synthetic marijuana already have been made illegal, but producers of "fake pot" regularly change the chemical makeup to keep them legal and in stores.

The DEA previously illegalized the chemical compounds CP-47,497, JWH-200, JWH-018 and JWH-073 in its effort to push back against production of "fake pot."

The DEA's major concern is public health and safety. The substances have not been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for human consumption or medical use.

The psychological effects of these compounds are similar to marijuana and include potential paranoia, panic attacks and giddiness; they can also cause an increased heart rate and blood pressure. Thankfully, the DEA stated that no instances of overdose have been reported.

As far as the DEA is concerned, your days of puff-puff-passing synthetic marijuana are numbered.

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