Huffing nitrous oxide is technically illegal, and so is selling it at parties.

So why are authorities having a hard time cracking down on the gas that has remained popular at raves and other underground events? It's also legal for other uses:

The L.A. Daily News over the weekend reported how the March take-down of four people and 650 nitrous tanks will result only in misdemeanor cases.

The suspects faced allegations of misbranding the drug because they were selling it out of auto shops, where its intended use is to soup up cars.

The paper says that, for the most part, selling nitrous is legal unless the buyer is a minor. Eek.

Part of the problem is that nitrous is legal when it's used to enhance vehicle performance. The gas can boost combustion and is thus found in many performance car shops of the type that were busted during the March raids.

Joseph O. Johns, head of environmental prosecutions for the U.S. attorney's office in L.A:

A 19-year-old can purchase and huff all the nitrous they want, and the person that sells it to them cannot be prosecuted by the state of California. That is a gigantic regulatory gap.

[@dennisjromero / / @LAWeeklyNews]

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