House approves synthetic drug crackdown amid concern about prison overcrowding
|Bill sponsor Barrett: "More needs to be done because of the inherent complexity of synthetic drugs."|
The bill criminalizes 250 more chemicals, slaps more severe penalties on those who sell synthetic pot, and streamlines the process by which the state Pharmacy Board can add new chemicals to the illegal list. A similar companion bill awaits floor action in the Senate.
Rep. Bob Barrett, R-Shafer, sponsored the bill. He said, "the goal of this legislation is to help stop this emerging problem before it becomes a larger health crisis."
|Rukavina expressed concern about stiffer drug penalties putting more people behind bars.|
"They feel that paying a small fine is a good business decision," he said. "We want to change this concept from a business decision to whether they want to spend five years in prison."
But Rep. Tom Rukavina, D-Virginia, said he's concerned that the "well intended" bill could put hundreds more people behind bars and place a financial burden on the state.
"You may be trying to do good things, but it's going to have a real negative impact," Rukavina said before voting against the legislation.
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