Earlier today, Governor Mark Dayton signed into law SF2319, authored by Senator Roger Reinert, which creates stronger enforcement and stiffer penalties on synthetic drugs. The new statute becomes effective on August 1, 2012.
“In a session where we haven’t been able to accomplish a lot, I’m proud we were able to get this bill signed into law,” said Senator Reinert.
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. Multiple stakeholders, including law enforcement officials and county prosecutors, believe this bill will help them stay ahead of the production of new drugs and chemicals that are being constantly modified before hitting the streets.
“Synthetic drugs are the issue I get asked about almost daily,” said Senator Reinert. “People want to know when the bill will be enacted, and my response is that it could not come soon enough.”