For second straight year, synthetic drug crackdown advancing through legislature

synthetic pot crop.jpg
Legislators apparently don't think last year's synthetic drug ban went far enough.
For the second consecutive session, a bill cracking down on synthetic drugs is advancing through the Minnesota legislature.

Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee approved a bill that would reclassify selling synthetic drugs as a felony and expedite the process by which Minnesota's Board of Pharmacy can outlaw new synthetic mind-altering substances. The bill will soon come before the full Senate.

Last May, Gov. Mark Dayton signed a synthetic drug ban into law, but synthetic drug manufacturers continue to slightly alter the chemical makeup of their products in order to keep them on store shelves.

During Wednesday's testimony, Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said "you hear it called synthetic marijuana from time to time, but this is more akin to LSD."

Given that lawmakers believe synthetic marijuana is akin to LSD, it makes sense that they're trying to reclassify pseudo pot as a Schedule One substance. Hence, under the proposed bill, sellers could get up to five years in prison.
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Rep. Barrett believes the threat of prison time might act as a deterrent for those selling synthetic drugs.

Rep. Bob Barrett, R-Shafer, is author the House version of the bill, which like the Senate version should also come before the full chamber soon. Regarding the stiffer penalties for selling, he said "maybe the threat of jail time will get the message across that we don't want one more death in Minnesota as a result of these dangerous drugs."

Another component of the bill would streamline the process by which the state can ban new concoctions as manufacturers try and stay ahead of the law.

To ban a new substance, the pharmacy board would have to determine the substance has a high potential for misuse, no currently accepted medical use, and known adverse effects, among other factors.

Jim Carlson, owner of Duluth's Last Place On Earth, said that as was the case last year, he doesn't expect the new bill, if it becomes law, to pose insurmountable problems for those in the synthetic drugs business.

"I don't think it's going to change a whole lot," he said. "Our attorneys are going to challenge the law, so we are going to fight it."


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10 comments
Carl
Carl

Let's try education instead of "prohibition".  It's the only thing that would work. Can't make everything illegal you know

CJ
CJ

Here is why these should be illegal...because every moron who smokes them, goes crazy, gets arrested or ends up in the hospital says the following: "Well I didn't think there was anything wrong with it because it wasn't illegal." Not Illegal = Safe to consume

Carl
Carl

say goodby to potpourri! That's the only way for the gov to ban everything. Sounds like a slippery slope to me

amiller92
amiller92

How is the Duluth police chief qualified to describe chemical properties of anything?

Also, this sure seems like a move in the wrong direction.

FellowHuman
FellowHuman

Well before their attorneys challenge it, they should be forced to smoke it themselves for a few months. I have a feeling that the people who make this stuff wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole.

Carl
Carl

 If you eat bacon everyday and have heart problems when you are old, you can't complain that it should of been illegal. Try education.

FellowHuman
FellowHuman

How is it a move in the wrong direction? The only allure these things have is that they are legal and easy to get. Take that out of the equation, and people might as well do other things.

amiller92
amiller92

It's an extension of our utterly failed attempt at marijuana prohibition.

amiller92
amiller92

Perhaps that's right, I don't really know. 

But generally making things that people really want illegal is ineffective.  I rather doubt that anyone really wants these things, but the stuff they do want is illegal, which enriches the criminals that deal in it, criminals normal people and brings violence to our communities.  It also creates strong incentives to come up with products like this.

Fixing the real problem would probably make products like these irrelevant, but instead we will keep trying to write laws that they can't work around.  Good luck with that.

FellowHuman
FellowHuman

Except these things are much worse for you. Much, much worse. They literally bind to your neuroreceptors, as 'full agonists,' unlike the naturally occurring 'partial agonists,' and make it so you can't even receive your own brain's natural chemicals. They are awful for your lungs, terrible for your nervous system, and absolutely should be illegal.

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