"Because policymakers were concerned about the effects of pharmaceutically created and other modified drugs, Congress gave the Attorney General the authority to temporarily place a substance onto Schedule I of the CSA to “avoid imminent hazards to public safety.”14 When determining whether there is an imminent hazard, the Attorney General (through the DEA) must consider the drug’s history and current pattern of abuse; scope, duration, and significance of abuse; and risk to public health.

"Once scheduled through this temporary scheduling process, a substance may remain on Schedule I for two years. The Attorney General then has the authority to keep the substance on Schedule I for an additional one year before it must be removed or permanently scheduled. The Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012—Subtitle D of Title XI of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (P.L. 112-144)—extended the DEA’s temporary scheduling authority. Prior to enactment of this act on July 9, 2012, the DEA was able to temporarily place a substance on Schedule I of the CSA for one year, with a potential extension of six months."


Sacco, Lisa N. and Finklea, Kristin M., "Synthetic Drugs: Overview and Issues for Congress," Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC: Library of Congress, May 3, 2016.