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The law banning GBL, BZP, synthetic cannabis and other "legal highs" comes into effect today.

The change came about in the summer, after the Home Office took the extraordinary step of asking its scientific advisers to look at the issue and then followed their advice. This was before the Home Office fell out with Professor David Nutt and sacked him.

From today GBL and BZP become Class C controlled substances, along with several anabolic steroids.

Smoking mixtures like 'Spice' become Class B substances - possession could earn you five years in prison.

The move is unlikely to the be the last. The Home Office was promising quick action on mephedrone - an extremely popular drug similar in effect to ecstasy and widely available online. The stuff is irritating police, who keep nicking ecstasy dealers only to find they have to be released because they've only got plant food, and also having an effect on drugs workers who have seen a huge increase in enquiries about the stuff. It is one of a large number of so-called research chemicals which are quickly coming to mainstream attention after a long period of use by relatively small numbers of pyschonauts.

Given the recent tabloid bollocks stories this stuff is unlikely to stay legal for much longer, even as a tomato food.

The difficulty for the Home Office is that this is now a big business. The Chinese labs producing the stuff won't take long to tweak their formulas to produce an almost identical substance which falls outside the definitions of the law. ®

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