DEA Cracks Down on 'Fake Weed' Feds declare chemicals used to make K2 illegal By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Apr 15, 2011 3:22 PM CDT 29 comments Comments A file photo of a package of K2. (AP Photo/Kelley McCall, File) (Newser) – The DEA is moving to make "fake weed," commonly known as K2 or spice, much harder for people to get their hands on. The agency has made it illegal to possess or sell five chemicals used to make the drug, reports Live Science. The emergency designation will remain in effect for year while the feds determine whether to make the move permanent. It comes after a rash of hospital reports about high teens suffering side effects such as hallucinations and elevated heart rates. The drug, often sold as incense, is already illegal in 18 states and throughout much of Europe, writes Jeanna Bryner. K2 is "potent psychotropic drug," explains one toxicology professor, and it's thought to be 10 times more potent than marijuana. "This emergency action was necessary to prevent an imminent threat to public health and safety," said a DEA statement.