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U.S. Senate Approves Bill to Ban Sale of Synthetic Drugs

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The U.S. Senate last week passed a bill that would prohibit the sale of synthetic drugs. The bill had been held up in the Senate for months by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. New York Senator Charles Schumer was able to get the bill passed by attaching it to a larger Food and Drug Administration bill, the New York Daily News reports.

The bill passed 96-1, the article notes.

“Let this be a warning to those who make a profit manufacturing and selling killer chemical components to our teens and children: the jig is up,” Senator Schumer said in a statement. “This bill closes loopholes that have allowed manufacturers to circumvent local and state bans and ensures that you cannot simply cross state lines to find these deadly synthetic drugs.”

Often marketed as legal substances, synthetic drugs are sometimes labeled as “herbal incense” or “bath salts” and sold in small pouches or packets over the Internet, in tobacco and smoke shops, drug paraphernalia shops, gas stations, and convenience stores. In December, the National Institute on Drug Abuse released new information indicating that one in nine high school seniors had used “Spice” or “K2” over the past year, making synthetic marijuana the second most frequently used illicit drug, after marijuana, among high school seniors. Poison control centers operating across the nation have also reported sharp increases in the number of calls relating to synthetic drugs.

A similar bill passed the House last December. Senator Schumer said he expects the ban to be on President Obama’s desk by July 4. When it is signed into law, the bill will make it illegal to sell synthetic marijuana and bath salts anywhere in the United States, regardless of local laws. First-time offenders will receive up to 20 years in prison, and repeat sellers will receive up to 30 years.

9 Responses to this article

  1. BRANDON'S MOM / August 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    My son has been hospitalized 3 times due to the effects of him using synthetic marijuana. He now has severe depression with pshycotic features, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, axiety, insomnia and tremors. The doctors say there is not enough research on this poison to know how long he will experience these side effects. They say he may snap out of it within months or may have to live with it for the rest of his life. It has changed him dramatically. He has his good days and he has his bad days. The bad days are very bad and I feel so helpless. I listen to him and comfort him during his panic attacks. I am glad to say that I believe he is done using synthetic marijuana after this last hospitalization but I am not immune to the fact that relapse could be just around the corner. This product is still being sold in our area stores and I am currently fighting this and raising awareness to other parents that may be as ignorant as I was to this deadly drug. The local police say they have done all they can do and what these store owners are now selling is the legal form of the drug. Legal still does not make it safe. All these basement chemist do is change the chemical compounds to skirt the current laws. I will not accept that the police cannot do anything further on this matter and I am taking matters in my own hands. We are currently organizing a picket line to raise awareness to the public in our area. I also filed a complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission for mislabling of the product. Even though it says “Not for human consumption” there are no ingredients listed, no manufacture contact information, no “how to use” instructions, no instructions on what to do incase of ingestion. It is my ultimate goal to hold these so called “legal” drug dealers responsible for what they are selling to our kids. When I first began my research on this drug I found this website tothemaximus.org very helpful and I read the blog several times a day. Educate yourself and keep the lines of communication open with your children. Prayers needed! <3
    I realize it was my sons choice to use this drug but they are marketing it towards the youth and believe this or not because it is a fact, these manufactures are making a 4,000 % profit return on this crap and I say put them in jail and make them pay pay pay!!!

  2. Avatar of Tonya S
    Tonya S / May 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Thank god someone is doing something about this. I am in Michigan and in the last week 3 kids have died from K2 / Spice. I completely agree that 20 years for the first offense is a great idea. Maybe if the government had this type of sentencing for other drugs, we may not losing the war on drugs.

  3. Fred C / May 30, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I agree, this is bad stuff, but 20 years for a first offense is swatting flies with a sledgehammer. It is a case of our legislators being out of touch with reality, like the USA having the largest per capita ratio of citizens in prison. I’m not in favor of paying $35,000 a year, out of my taxes, to keep people from working and contributing to taxes. We need a much better system than the complete, proven failure our prison system is. We neeed punishment, but these people should be contributing to solving the debt crisis instead of exacerbating it.

  4. abbynormal / May 29, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Finally selling this poison has consequence

  5. Avatar of me
    me / May 29, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    maybe we should just legalize regular cannabis, which is completely natural and relatively harmless compared to this stuff, before all our kids die trying this other crap.

  6. Avatar of ImTrixKat
    ImTrixKat / May 29, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I have no problem with the substance being banned, but have a BIG problem with first time offenders being sentenced to 20 years!!! Way to support the already bloated Prison Industrial Complex! This is draconian in nature and ridiculous!

  7. Avatar of Scott Washburn
    Scott Washburn / May 29, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I think the broader context is just as relevant – it’s an election year so the desire to appear “tough on drugs” is a bit higher than other years.

  8. Joshua / May 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    those three kids would not have died had they just used regulat pot. maybe the positive effect here is to drive kids who want to experiment back to the safer alternative. congrats to the US senate on promoting safe, natural marijuana

  9. Jim / June 4, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Agreed. Imagine what we could do if we spent that money on prevention and treatment instead.

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