Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to add synthetic marijuana to the controlled substances list.

“We cannot afford to wait any longer,” Schumer said on Wednesday. “I am urging the DEA to quickly ban these chemicals, and any substances similar in nature to those that are already banned so that we can stem the tide of synthetic drug use that is rising again.”


Schumer said the DEA is taking too long to research the effects of the chemicals in synthetic drugs and hasn’t added them to the list of controlled substances to make them illegal.

“Synthetic drug use is on an upswing, and that is largely because synthetic drug makers are skirting around restrictions that have been put in place by developing new, dangerous chemical compounds that are not yet regulated,” Schumer said. “As a result, more and more kids are ending up in the emergency room, and it is time for federal law to catch up.”

Congress passed a bill in 2012 giving the DEA authority to regulate synthetic drugs, such as “Spice” and “K2,” but Schumer said not enough has been done. He called for passage of the Protecting Our Youth from Dangerous Synthetic Drugs Act, which would make it illegal to import controlled substance analogues — or alternative hazardous synthetic drugs — for human consumption. It would also establish a committee of DEA scientists that would establish and maintain a list of controlled substance synthetic drugs.

Some of these synthetic drugs cause seizures, hallucinations, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate and panic attacks.