Minn House lawmakers unanimously approve synthetic drugs bill

By KBJR News 1

April 9, 2014 Updated Apr 10, 2014 at 12:24 AM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The fight against synthetic drugs is about to heat up across Minnesota after a move by House lawmakers on Wednesday.

House lawmakers unanimously approved a bill curbing the sale of the deadly substance and educate teens and young adults.

"During the course of going across Minnesota and taking testimony we can't tell you how many people would come up to us and said if you're not using synthetic drugs, you're in the minority," the bill's author, Rep. Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth), told other House members.

The report lists nearly a dozen recommendations. One calls for the expansion of the definition of 'drug.'

Another gives the Board of Pharmacy the ability to issue cease and desist orders to businesses that sell synthetics.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

Breakdown of the synthetic drugs bill:

· Amends the definition of drug to also include compounds not regulated or approved for human consumption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or Minnesota law and, when introduced to the body, induces an effect substantially similar to that of scheduled drugs.

· Grants cease and desist power to the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy to stop retailers from selling these products. The cease and desist order must give reasonable notice of the rights of the person to request a hearing, and the bill outlines the hearing process. If a person fails to appear, the allegations may be considered true. If no hearing is requested within 30 days of the order, the “cease and desist” order will become permanent. An order remains in effect until modified or vacated by the Board.

· Maintains the board’s expedited rule making authority by extending the sunset on this power. This power was given to the board to help keep up with the influx of synthetic drugs introduced into the market after manufacturer’s tweak the formula to skirt state laws.

· Calls for mandatory restitution provision. If a person is convicted of selling a controlled substance or analog under the false pretense that it is legal, the court must order restitution for the costs and expenses resulting from the crime.

· Appropriates $163,000 in fiscal year 2015 to the Department of Human Services for increasing public awareness of the dangers of synthetic drugs and developing targeted education towards children and young adults.

Written by Kevin Jacobsen
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