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Posted on: March 28, 2013

County Attorney Hails Passage of Legislation to Fight Synthetic Drugs

PHOENIX, AZ (March 28, 2013) – County Attorney Bill Montgomery praises today’s passage of HB 2327 which effectively bans the specific chemical “backbone” used to make a variety of dangerous designer drugs commonly known as “synthetic marijuana” and bath salts. The bill, which was approved by the Arizona Senate on a 28-0 vote, contains an emergency clause making it immediately effective once it is signed by Governor Jan Brewer.

“I commend Representative Eddie Farnsworth for sponsoring this successful effort to provide law enforcement with an effective tool to rid our communities of these dangerous drugs,” remarked Montgomery. “I am also grateful to Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, who helped lead this effort. Retailers should consider themselves officially on notice that they will be subject to arrest and prosecution if they continue selling these products after the Governor signs the legislation into law,” he added.

Marketed under brand names like Spice, K2, Ivory Wave, and Vanilla Sky, this new generation of synthetic drugs contains chemical compounds that mimic the effects of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines. Previous efforts to outlaw these products based on their specific chemistry were rendered ineffective because manufacturers were quickly able to modify the drugs to circumvent specifically prohibited chemical compositions. The current legislation avoids this problem by banning the fundamental chemical structure on which many of these products are based.

Once enacted, the law will make possession or use of this category of synthetic drugs a Class 4 felony, punishable by probation on the first two offenses and prison for subsequent offenses. Possessing equipment or chemicals to manufacture the drugs will constitute a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to 8.75 years in prison, while possession for sale, transporting, importing or transferring the drugs will be a Class 2 felony carrying a maximum prison sentence of 12.5 years.

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