Rolling Stone published an article called 'The New (legal) Killer Drug' about 2ct7 in January 2002, with a massive headline on the magazine cover. Apparently some college kid had taken an unknown amount of 2ct7, in combination with unknown quantities of mdma, ephedrine, and nitrous oxide. Then he had died. The DEA emergency-scheduled 2ct7 in the U.S., but it remained mostly available elsewhere. In a particularly weird cultural moment, '2ct7' was quietly escorted out of Amsterdam smartshops after the Rolling Stone article... _however_, for the most part, what was being sold in the Dam as 2ct7 was in fact 2ct2, a considerably less intense analogue.In Los Angeles around this time, insane amounts of both 2ct7 and 2ct2 began to taint the ecstasy market. This annoyance reached its eventual apex in summer 2004, when everyone and their brother were attempting to unload all these white fleur-de-lis pills, surely pressed originally as 'rave pills' rather than ecstasy, sold as ecstasy nevertheless, and laced with enough 2ct7 to make you trip hard for a good 10 hours. [I took some at a concert and felt the need to jump onstage waving a noose, but I believe that is called Another Story.]
JLF Poisonous Non-Consumables, the first internet supplier of Research Chemicals that I remember, was raided around Christmas 2002. All assets were frozen, lives were ruined forever, etc etc. JLF had been fingered in the Rolling Stone article by an internet personality named Murple. If you were ever vaguely in this scene, you sure do hate that fucking Murple. He was this mildly arrogant Usenet dude; he had a minor following before he decided to talk to Rolling Stone... I remember him from long before the JLF bust. I wonder, wonder, wonder where he is today. The JLF raid set the ugly precedent for all Research Chemical raids afterward.By the start of 2004, 2ci, one of the scene's more potent hallucinogens, had won popularity with British ravers. Pills with 15-25mg doses were apparently available at raves and festivals, usually stamped with an 'i'. Kids reported a catchy name for it, in Britain, around this time [something cute like 'ecstasy', 'acid' etc, but i can't seem to find the name now]. Britain outlawed 2ci around March 2004. Thereafter in Hollywood, 2ci became briefly known as Banned in Britain. As these things generally go, the ban raised the drug's profile - to the point, in fact, that British music weekly the NME did a sidebar about it in late 2004. Horrifyingly, they likened it to cocaine, in that they proffered it as another white powder for snorting. 'Only do small bumps,' they advised. I wrote NME a letter about the milligram scale business and the kind of rampantly unsafe behavior they were encouraging - not that I don't want indie kids snortin-n-trippin, but YEEK! - and anyway they never printed my letter and I guess British music fans didn't die.
In July 2004, the DEA ran Operation Web Tryp [extra linx: Wiki; DEA Press Release], in cooperation with British authorities. American resellers were arrested en masse. When Michael Burton of Las Vegas went down, everyone knew the phenomenon was over: Michael's shop had been the first to buy a Google ad. The UK lacked any major suppliers, but individual users' homes were raided. Mostly, these users were random kids who'd bought insanely small amounts. The searches happened early one morning in in May 2005 [yes, bafflingly, a _year_ after resellers were arrested]. The British police had finally obtained the customer records from the now-raided American suppliers. So, the British police busted into houses before the sun had risen that morning [around 50 searches were reported; 22 arrests were made]. Ravers got horribly embarrassed in front of their parents and so on. The police found caches of... oh, you could probably guess... mountains of heroin and guns?, not so much!, cheap bongs and pirated CDs?, loads of em!. I guess it was pretty traumatic for the largely teenaged crowd involved, and legitimately shitty for thirty-year-olds who also happened to have a gram of speed/etc when the police searched their homes. Lots of Brits spoke about it on the internet, and in every story I followed to the end, the accused had to go to court, but got off with a warning [a fairly uniform result; if something nuts happened to anyone in the UK, i missed it]. In the U.S., some individual users were also contacted and pressured into testifying against the suppliers, but there was no pre-dawn raid to inspire fear in souls and so on.The Web Tryp busts included Pondman.nu, a strange site that never openly advertised its products and had no search engine hits. Instead, it masqueraded as a pond supply business and, who knew!, had its main business in selling 5-meo-dmt, amt, and 5-meo-dipt to customers in the U.S. Navy. At the time, the U.S. Navy was, it was reported, having a lot of 'secret raves'. There's vague mention of this in the same DEA Press Release linked above [scroll down to the Pondman section]. If anyone else knows a bit more about this, I sure would be interested. The whole 'secret Navy raves' bit was rapidly forgotten, swept under, whatever, but it was certainly my favorite, and most unexpected, part of the story.
Operation Web Tryp effectively shut down the American reseller business of Research Chemicals. I imagine resellers still exist, but they fly under the radar instead of buying Google ads. I never purchased any of these drugs online in the first place, so I can't offer any advice about trying to procure them now. I wouldn't advise having them shipped into the U.S. or UK, but I guess if you're in a safe place, they're not particularly hard to get. The most popular ones have a pretty good following in Amsterdam smartshops. In America, I always bought my doses from those kids saving up for Burning Man.
And then, there's Japan. I've never been to Japan, so I can't place these reports in context, but _reportedly_, Research Chemicals are huge in Roppongi, the district of Tokyo famous for its giant nightclubs. Methylone, popularly known there as 'M-rone' or 'rone', is, I guess, just massive. You can get a vague idea of the Tokyo scene by checking out the MySpace page of another internet personality, Mistress K. She's about as famous, these days, as Murple once was. She reports on her blog that the Tokyo police have taken a rather pragmatic approach to the popularity of Research Chemicals, simply testing seized batches for purity, and declining to issue any harsh penalties. In her opinion, the drugs are, at this point, too widespread to police anyway.
The milligram scale is an interesting gatekeeper. Since Research Chemicals were, and remain, mostly a powder market rather than a pill market, you need a scale to dose safely. There are a few exceptions, such as the ever-popular methlyone, which requires doses of 100-200mg. 100mg is a fair amount of powder; while no one _recommends_ it, we all _suppose_ you could eyeball it. Other Research Chemicals, however, require dosing literally to the milligram: 2ci, for example, is hugely different when ingested in a quantity of 20mg vs 25mg, with 50mg generally being considered an overdose [not yet fatal but sure not recommended]. So, you know. Don't try any of this shit without a really good scale. With all drugs, you hand your life to your supplier, but in this case, you also hand your life to your scale.