[R76] Rep. McNamara: Dangerous synthetic drugs now illegal (3/27/2012)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 7:00 pm

Start Date:  3/27/2012  All Day  
End Date:  3/27/2012    
Dangerous ‘synthetic’ drugs now illegal

One of the most important bills passed this session, I believe, makes a number of formerly legal but hazardous substances illegal to possess, transport or sell in the State of Indiana. I feel strongly that this bill will save lives by keeping dangerous drugs off store shelves and out of the hands of Hoosier youth.

House Enrolled Act 1196 has been signed by the governor and strengthens the state’s ban on dangerous synthetic drugs designed to mimic the effects of marijuana and cocaine.

Indiana banned the sale of bath salts, during the 2011 session, after hundreds of overdoses were reported; however, makers of the drugs continued to slightly change the base compounds to avoid the law that was put into effect.

This bill closes necessary loopholes and makes policing these harmful substances more effective. With the bill’s enactment, more than 60 chemical compounds found in synthetic drugs like “Spice” and “Bath Salts” were immediately added to the state’s list of illegal substances.

It was imperative that we pass this law. Public perception, often, is that if it is being legally sold, then it is safe. Not the case here. ‘Bath salts’ have effects similar to amphetamines and can cause damage to the nervous system.

Now that the law is effective, we need retailers and citizens to comply with the new law and get the drugs safely disposed of. The goal of the legislation is to make our state safer, not close stores and fill up our jails.

To provide a method for retailers and private citizens to dispose of these now illegal substances all Indiana State Police permitted any quantity of these substances to be dropped off at any state police post from Friday, March 16th through Sunday, March 25, 2012.

This was not an amnesty program, the products are now illegal to possess and retailers should already have these products removed from their shelves. Retailers that continue to sell synthetic marijuana and other banned synthetic drugs will be stripped of their retail merchant certificate of business, shutting them down for one year.

Affiliates of the business – including owners, officers, partners, directors or managers – will be banned from obtaining any other retail merchant certificates for one year.

I am pleased that the General Assembly was able to address this issue, considering the urgency of the problem. This law has been the successful collaboration of state legislators and law enforcement officers alike. The Hoosier state is now a safer place to be and lives will be saved.

The above information is from the Indiana State Police. To find out more information about the new law and how to safely turn in these substances, please visit: http://www.in.gov/isp/