Spice becoming a Schedule I controlled substance

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mela'nie Rowell
  • Air Force Flight Test Center Judge Advocate Office
The Drug Enforcement Administration is looking to categorize five chemicals commonly used to make synthetic marijuana products, including Spice, K2, Blaze and Red X Dawn as Schedule I controlled substances.

Schedule I is the most restrictive category and is reserved for the most dangerous, commonly abused drugs with no credible medical function.

The use of these substances is already illegal for military members under an order that prohibits service members from using any intoxicating substance other than alcohol and tobacco to alter mood.

The DEA's action means that the sale, distribution, manufacture, possession and use of these chemicals will become a federal crime. Any person - including civilian employees, contractors and family members - on a federal installation who uses Spice or other similar products can be prosecuted under federal law for using a Schedule I controlled substance upon the DEA's issuance of a final rule, expected within a few weeks.

Military members who use Spice or other similar products can already face prosecution under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Per the UCMJ, the maximum punishment for the use, possession, manufacture, or introduction of a Schedule I controlled substance is a dishonorable discharge, 5 years confinement and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

Spice is marketed as aromatic incense (potpourri) or, in some cases, burning incense. The product is an olive green leafy material similar in appearance to marijuana. It is smoked for its "marijuana-like high." The effects of this substance include euphoria, bloodshot eyes, impaired short-term memory and concentration, hallucinations, painless head pressure and sleeplessness.

More serious side effects include vomiting, seizures, elevated blood pressure and non-responsiveness. Symptoms normally occur within 5 to10 minutes and can last as long as 8 to12 hours.

Bottom line, anyone using spice may face criminal prosecution under the UCMJ.