The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) expressed strong support for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) using its temporary scheduling authority to place synthetic cannabinoids into schedule I in comments submitted to the agency.
DEA announced on January 9, 2017 its intent to temporarily schedule six synthetic cannabinoids into schedule I. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) provides authority to bypass the regular scheduling process and temporarily place a substance into schedule I for two years it is deemed necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety. DEA has used this authority at least three previous times to place synthetic cannabinoids into schedule I.
"AHPA and its members and other companies that market herbal products have an interest in protecting the public from illicit substances marketed as synthetic cannabinoids and ensuring that DEA appropriately uses its CSA temporary scheduling authority," said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. "The synthetic cannabinoids listed in this notice, as well as synthetic cannabinoids generally, have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use."
AHPA's comments reiterated opposition to the DEA using this emergency authority in a manner that would have the effect of banning currently marketed herbal ingredients. AHPA also urged DEA to be aware of emerging therapeutic or health-promoting benefits of scheduled substances and prevent unnecessary obstacles to research that may identify previously unknown public health benefits.