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Sellers of synthetic drugs can be prosecuted under federal analog laws

As noted in the previous post, lawmakers in New Jersey and around the country are working to ban synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of illegal drugs like cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. Some of the forms these drugs take are as incense or as bath salts.

People may buy them as legal alternatives to the illegal drugs that will not show up on drug tests. They may also assume they are safe because they are sold in stores, but they are unregulated. As soon as these drugs are banned, manufacturers of the synthetic drugs are able to alter the make-up of the chemicals used to make the substances, therefore staying ahead of the law.

The DEA warns that the Federal Analog Act allows for the prosecution of people who distribute substances that are similar in make-up and effects to illegal drugs. Prosecutors rarely pursue cases against people under the analog laws, unless there is an overdose or another crime involved. This is because the burden of proof is on the prosecutors to show that the not-yet-banned substance is equal to an already illegal substance.

An ongoing case in Minnesota may be the first time in the U.S. that prosecutors are pursuing a case against a man for distributing 2C-E, a synthetic hallucinogen which is not illegal at this time and was purchased online by the man. The 21-year-old defendant is accused of giving 2C-E to people at a party. One of the partygoers died. Prosecutors have charged the man with third-degree murder and are planning to prove that 2C-E is an analog to 2C-B, a hallucinogen that is listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.


Blaine overdose case is uncharted territory for prosecutors (MPR News

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