Synthetic marijuana to be classified as controlled drug, illegal for drivers to possess

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The Drug Enforcement Administration announced its intent this week to classify four versions of synthetic marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug and therefore regulated under the Controlled Substances Act, which would mean truck operators who use synthetic marijuana and fail a drug test will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle.

According to FMCSA regulations, “no driver shall be on duty and possess, be under the influence of, or use” Schedule 1 substances, or they will no longer be a qualified operator.

Marijuana is still prohibited for truck drivers, despite some state measures to legalize the drug. Here’s a roundup of previous OD coverage on legal pot, including science behind driving while stoned and legal pot’s potential affect on trucking.

In a Federal Register entry published Jan. 10, the DEA said the “synthetic cannabinoids” are “an imminent hazard to the public safety,” and there are no medical uses for the synthetic strains, the DEA says.

Synthetic marijuana, according to the DEA’s Federal Register entry, is “functionally similar” to the active ingredient in natural marijuana — THC. The cannabinoids are not organic, though, and are created in a laboratory. Moreover, the DEA says, “the vast majority of cannabinoids are manufactured in Asia by individuals who are not bound by any manufacturing requirements or quality control standards.”

The drug is generally smoked, the DEA says (information it says it obtained from Internet message boards and from law enforcement officers). According to the DEA, it is sold under hundreds of brand names, some of which are: Spice, K2, Blaze, Red X Dawn, Paradise, Demon, Black Magic, Spike, Mr. Nice Guy, Ninja, Zohai, Dream, Genie, Scene, Smoke, Skunk, Serenity, Yucatan, Fire, Crazy Clown.