Senate Votes Unanimously for Stronger Enforcement on Synthetic Drugs

Earlier today, Senator Roger Reinert’s bill (SF2319) related to synthetic cannabinoids was passed unanimously by the full body of the Minnesota Senate.

“Synthetic drugs are a growing issue in communities across the state,” said Senator Reinert. “These drugs are more akin to meth than marijuana, and have negatively impacted our downtown business area and our local emergency rooms.”

Senator Reinert’s bill accomplishes two significant changes. First, the bill reclassifies synthetic cannabinoids as a Schedule I substance. This subsequently increases penalty for the sale of synthetic marijuana with no remuneration to a gross misdemeanor. The penalty for all other types of sales increases from a gross misdemeanor to a felony. If found guilty one may be sentenced to not more than five years of imprisonment, a fine of $10,000, or both.

Second, the bill also updates the statutory controlled substance schedules so they match the schedules maintained by the Board of Pharmacy. The new schedules would reflect lists of known categories of drugs which are typically made to generate new psychoactive drugs. Effectively, the bill attempts to stay ahead of the production of new drugs or chemicals that are being constantly modified before hitting the streets.

The version passed by the Senate today differs slightly from the House version passed last week. Senator Reinert hopes the House will accept the modified Senate language, and that the bill will then go directly to Governor Dayton for his signature into law. Once signed by the Governor, the law would become effective on August 1, 2012.

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Senator Roger Reinert
Roger Reinert represents District 7, which includes St. Louis County. He is also an educator.

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