Measure to close loophole on synthetic drugs sent to governor

LANSING A measure designed to close a loophole in state law and crack down on synthetic drugs was sent to Gov. Rick Snyder Tuesday, said Sen. Joe Hune, R-Hamburg Township.

“These synthetic drugs are dangerous and should be illegal,” Hune said. “I supported this vital piece of legislation to help ensure that our prosecutors and law enforcement officials have the tools they need to address this growing epidemic.”

Senate Bill 1082 would update Michigan’s law that lists prohibited chemical compounds typically used by synthetic drug manufacturers and further empower local law enforcement to keep up with the ever-changing nature of these dangerous, addictive drugs.

The measure was sponsored to target synthetic drugs similar to “K2” and “bath salts,” which were previously banned but have had their chemicals altered to escape the penalties.

According to Hune, while many particular synthetic drugs are already illegal under Michigan law, the manufacturers of these dangerous drugs simply change the chemical makeup of their compounds in order to skirt state law.

If signed into law, SB 1082 would update the list of schedule-1 controlled substances to include any synthetic chemical compound that mimics the effect of naturally occurring cannabinoids – which are found in cannabis, which is more commonly known as marijuana. The bill also includes synthetic cathinones.

By classifying these synthetic drugs as schedule-1 substances, it means that anyone caught possessing them would face a felony charge punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

Additionally, anyone caught using one of these controlled substances could be found guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of $1,000.

Furthermore, individuals who manufacture, create, deliver or possess with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance would be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Individuals who knowingly attempt to sell a product while representing that it contains a prohibited chemical, or a chemical intended to mimic a banned chemical could be found guilty of a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of $20,000.

“I encourage Governor Snyder to sign this bill into law as quickly as possible to help protect our residents from these highly addictive and dangerous substances,” Hune said.