Be Aware of Synthetic Cannabinoids!
As first reported to you in the April 10, 2010 Idealease Safety Bulletin the use of synthetic marijuana sold under the names of K2 and Spice and other names as incense is available in the US and provides the user the same effect as marijuana. The Drug Enforcement Administration DEA has now announced that synthetic marijuana is now a controlled substance making it illegal to use by a commercial motor vehicle driver.
In a Federal Register entry published Jan. 10, 2014 the DEA said the “synthetic cannabinoids” are “an imminent hazard to the public safety,” and there are no medical uses for the synthetic strains.
Synthetic marijuana, according to the DEA’s Federal Register entry, is “functionally similar” to the active ingredient in natural marijuana — THC. The cannabinoids are not organic, though, and are created in a laboratory. Moreover, the DEA says, “the vast majority of cannabinoids are manufactured in Asia by individuals who are not bound by any manufacturing requirements or quality control standards.”
The FMCSA prohibits a driver from engaging in a safety-sensitive function when the driver uses “any controlled substance” except under the supervision of a licensed medical practitioner. 49 CFR 382.213(a).
DOT drug tests, however, do not test for synthetic marijuana, and many, if not most, non-DOT drug testing regimens will not detect synthetics. It is not known at this point if the FMCSA intends to amend its drug test to include these substances.
But because synthetic marijuana is now a controlled substance, motor carriers must prohibit its use by drivers even if it not tested for at the moment. Company policy should prohibit the possession or use of synthetic marijuana. If a driver involved in a crash is proven to have used synthetic marijuana, that fact may be considered evidence of negligence by both the driver and the carrier.
The drug is generally smoked, the DEA says (information obtained from Internet message boards and from law enforcement officers). According to the DEA, it is sold under hundreds of brand names, some of which are: Spice, K2, Blaze, Red X Dawn, Paradise, Demon, Black Magic, Spike, Mr. Nice Guy, Ninja, Zohai, Dream, Genie, Scene, Smoke, Skunk, Serenity, Yucatan, Fire, Crazy Clown, Black Mamba, Crazy Monkey, Dead Man Walking, Funky Monkey, Sexy Monkey, SinX, TenX, Twilight and 3X.