Our call-in center recently received a question about the legality of Bromo-Dragonfly. In order to determine whether Bromo-Dragonfly is an illegal Class A substance in the UK, we need to establish whether it is structurally derived from phenethylamine. Our caller has been advised by a friend studying chemistry that this is probably not the case. However, the substance is described on your site as a phenethylamine, and is described in Wikipedia as "somewhat related to the phenethylamine family". Our caller has also been advised that Bromo-Dragonfly is structurally similar to indanylaminopropane, which is apparently not derived from phenethylamine.
Can you help?
||Unfortunately the answer is not a simple yes or no.|
From our copy of the UK's Misuse of Drugs Act, after a long list of specific phenethylamines, it also includes any compound in Schedule 1 that meets the following conditions:
(d) any compound (not being methoxyphenamine or a compound for the time being specified in sub-paragraph (a) above) structurally derived from phenethylamine, an N-alkylphenethylamine, alpha-methylphenethylamine, an N-alkyl-alpha-methylphenethylamine, alpha-ethylphenethylamine, or an N-alkyl-alpha-ethylphenethylamine by substitution in the ring to any extent with alkyl, alkoxy, alkylenedioxy or halide substitutents, whether or not further substituted in the ring by one or more other univalent substituents;
First, take a look at a comparison between the structures of phenethylamine and Bromo-Dragonfly in Chem Compare. There's quite a big difference, but you can still clearly see the relationship between the two structures.
We think there isn't an easy way to resolve this. The UK law was clearly written to try to avoid having to constantly update the law to ban chemicals that are just slightly different from psychoactive phenethylamines. I think the answer to whether Bromo-Dragonfly qualifies turns on how much deference a judge would have in trying to help the government to meet that legislative goal.
It could be argued that the language "substitution in the ring to any extent with alkyl, alkoxy..." could be read to include building rings out of those substituents that attach to the benzene ring. The "wings" of the "Dragonfly" (the reason that this group got its name) could be seen as ring substituents that happen to be joined. I would suspect the Crown would read the law to include Bromo-Dragonfly this way.
However, it could also be argued that it is unreasonable to call double-ring systems simple "substitutions". It is not really a phenethylamine anymore, but a benzodifuran.
I'm not sure how useful that answer is, since you're looking for legal advice, but I think that I'd need to know if other cases had already been decided in the UK using this section of the Misuse of Drugs Act and whether some case law had built up to help interpret this new clause. If the courts are prone to defer to the government on similar issues, I think I'd say that Bromo-Dragonfly would be considered covered under Schedule 1.1.d's substituted phenethylamine ban.
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