A perceived outbreak of fake versions of drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana has inspired one of California's top leaders to launch a proposed crackdown.

Frankly, it's not like there aren't laws on the books dealing with this kind of thing, but U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is a stickler for fine print.

She says that last year American “poison centers nationwide responded to approximately 3,900 calls related to synthetic drugs.”


While we used to call synthetic drugs ecstasy and pretty much anything synthesized or promoted by the late, great California chemist Sasha Shulgin (who once had the tacit blessing of the federal government!), Feinstein is calling out a new wave of fakes, including that shite drug called synthetic marijuana as well as the “analogs” or chemical relatives of existing drugs like MDMA.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration already effectively banned synthetic marijuana, and analogs of existing outlawed (scheduled) drugs are already illegal under federal law.

But hey, senators gotta do something.

Feinstein's office makes this incredulous claim (showing just how out of touch old white leaders like her can be): “Synthetic drugs are packaged to appeal to young people and are widely available at gas stations, head shops and online.”

Sure. (We're guessing here she's talking about synthetic marijuana, already dealt with by the DEA, and herbal ecstasy, which is often just crap vitamins and caffeine).

Her office says these fakes are “designed to mimic the effects of controlled substances including cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, LSD and PCP.”


Synthetic drugs, which are pervasive in communities across the country, are often more dangerous than the drugs they are designed to imitate. Young people are aggressively targeted by the manufacturers of synthetic drugs, and our bill would help federal law enforcement protect our children by closing the loopholes that are exploited by manufacturers.


According to Feinstein's office, the proposed Protecting Our Kids from Dangerous Synthetic Drugs Act would establish a federal law enforcement committee to keep a list of “synthetic drugs or controlled substance analogues” (something the DEA already does), “make it illegal to import a controlled substance analogue on the list” (something that's already illegal) and amend sentencing guidelines, if such is deemed necessary.

Your federal leadership at work.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.