Need a perfect illustration of just absurd the fight against synthetic drugs has become? Take a look at the latest legal missive from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who has just banned 22 new synthetic versions of weed and cocaine on sale in the Sunshine State. The document reads more like a doctoral chemistry thesis than a legal report, with a full page of newly illegal compounds like everyone's favorite, UR-144 ((1-pentyl-1H-indol-3-yl)(2,2,3,3,tetramethylcycropropyl)methanone).
When your AG starts issuing decrees that only Walter White could possibly understand, it may be time to admit that drug chemists have a major leg up on law enforcement.
Bondi says the new law will help cops around the state bust head shops and convenience stores marketing synthetic drugs that are often marketed as "incense" or "plant food" in colorful packaging.
"This is actually disgusting to me," Bondi told reporters, brandishing a Scooby Doo-branded package. "Scooby snacks? Do you think this is directed at an adult? This is directed at children."
The problem is, after Bondi's latest decree, the chemists behind the synthetic cannabinoids are likely to just tweak their formula yet again to stay one step ahead of the law.
As New Times reported in September in an investigation into Florida's booming synthetic drug market, the chemists behind brands like "Mr. Nice Guy" are often too nimble for prosecutors to pin down.
State surgeon general John Armstrong admitted as much to reporters at a news conference announcing the new law.
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"By changing the molecular structure in marijuana and amphetamines, criminals synthesize drugs that are more dangerous, and yet are not technically illegal," he said.
But Armstrong claimed the new rule will "continue to put these synthetic drug manufacturers ... where they belong, in jail and out of business."
Sure will! At least until they come up with the next compound ...