MOSCOW, October 30 (RAPSI) – President Vladimir Putin has submitted a bill to the State Duma to prohibit the sale of new psychoactive products called synthetic cannabis (synthetic marijuana), which are sold as natural narcotics under brand names like K2 and Spice, RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.

According to the Federal Drug Control Agency, over 2,000 spice users have sought medical assistance and over 1,000 have been taken to hospitals over the past few months. More than 40 have died.

The bill identifies spices as synthetic or natural substances that produce a narcotic or intoxication effect that is dangerous to a user’s health and life. However, no sanitary or epidemiological requirements or marketing control measures have been approved for them.

The criminal code amendments proposed in the bill would ban the use of spice products in Russia and give the Drug Control Agency the authority to create a register of new potentially dangerous psychoactive substances that are prohibited in Russia. The register would be posted online.

The adverse effects of the use of spice are often very severe and can include hypertension, tachycardia, myocardial infarction, agitation, vomiting, hallucinations, psychoses, seizures, convulsions and panic attacks.

Drug abuse remains a major problem in Russia. The statistics on drug abuse showed a decline in the 2000s, when a wide variety of herbal mixtures known as "spices" was brought to the country. These mixtures are marketed as safe, and manufacturers attempt to evade legal restrictions by substituting different chemicals in their mixtures.

According to the Federal Drugs Control Service, there has been a 30% drop in drug-related deaths among young people in Russia in the past 14 years. The number of such deaths decreased from over 130,000 in 2000 to 82,000 in 2013.