Special hearing focuses on designer drugs legislation

The House Judiciary Committee will conduct a special meeting today to address two bills regarding regulation of designer drugs, said state Rep. John Walsh, committee chair.

The committee will take up House Bill 5714 and Senate Bill 1082. Walsh scheduled the special hearing and is making passage a priority to protect Michigan's youth from dangerous controlled substances.

"Our goal is to give law enforcement more firepower to stop illicit drug manufacturers who make minor changes to drugs such as K2 and bath salts to skirt the law," said Walsh, R-Livonia. "We hope to enact these two bills, plus two other bills that have already passed in the Judiciary Committee, to deal with designer drugs before school summer breaks get into full swing. We want to eliminate temptations that might arise as students have more free time on their hands."

The other measures are HB 5338 and SB 789, both dealing with designer drugs, which have already been reported out by the Judiciary Committee.

HB 5174 allows the director of the Department of Community Health to declare a designer drug as an immediate danger and classify it as a controlled substance. SB 1082 amends the Public Health Code and makes it a misdemeanor to sell a product that previously contained an ingredient declared a controlled substance.

The committee has already passed legislation banning K2 and bath salts, but chemists get around the ban by changing one ingredient so they no longer fall under the ban.

"Under current law, the people who make these designer drugs might change one or two ingredients in a substance that has already been banned to avoid liability, and this legislation would prevent that from happening," Walsh said. "These bills, once enacted, will enable state officials and policing agencies to keep dangerous drugs off the store shelves."

Published: Tue, Jun 5, 2012

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