Colorado lawmakers propose ban on synthetic pot
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
DENVER – The real stuff may be legal in Colorado, but synthetic marijuana faces a likely ban as state lawmakers prepare to join dozens of other states banning it.
A week after the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs said 25 cadets were under investigation for suspected use of synthetic pot, Colorado lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday to outlaw chemicals used in cannabinoids sold under product names such as Spice or K2.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has issued a temporary ban of some of the 10 chemical compounds, but at least 20 states are moving ahead with their own bans.
“It was never intended for human consumption,” said Sen. Mike Kopp, R-Littleton, who sponsored the bill in Colorado.
Synthetic hallucinogens disguised as common bath salts and sold for as little as $20 also are facing a likely ban, Kopp said.
Many states have scrambled to ban synthetic marijuana and hallucinogens after reading reports that the products are cheap or free – and in many cases legal.
Colorado is somewhat different because it allows marijuana use by people with certain medical conditions. Kopp’s bill states that medical marijuana patients can’t possess synthetic pot, which has not been said to have medicinal value.
“Nobody has argued for medicinal or redemptive uses of this substance,” Kopp said.
Even though the DEA appears headed toward a permanent federal ban on synthetic marijuana, Colorado authorities say a state ban is needed because the drug is routinely used in the state.
Mike Turner, spokesman for the Denver division of the DEA, said states typically ban drugs that also are outlawed by federal laws so local authorities can enforce drug laws without calling federal agents. The DEA, he said, supports state bans on bath salts, as well.
“It’s truly a matter of public health,” Turner said.
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