Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Duluth police chief Gordon Ramsay recently returned from the State capital where he testified on concerns of law enforcement regarding the increasing use of synthetic drugs.
According to Police Chief Gordon Ramsay, the state enacted the synthetic drug law in 2011 but because of ever changing make up of the synthetic products, he says it has been relatively ineffective as a statute.
Chief Ramsay says the bill, which passed a house committee yesterday, would broaden the scope of the statute and allow officials like the board of Pharmacy to determine which ingredients should or should not be included.
A broadened statute would cover more of the chemicals in synthetic drugs and, according to Chief Ramsay, would allow for better enforcement.
Chief Ramsay says lawmakers seemed to be reacting positively to the proposed bill and the real issue will come down to the severity of punishment for those who choose to sell the products.
"A felony ratchets it up where there is potential for prison time, strict probation sentences, conditions of probation and forfeiture, where the money that they make from the sale of the illegal drugs can be forfeited," said Chief Ramsay
Last fall Duluth Police raided the Last Place on Earth, a head shop on Superior Street.
Recently it was confirmed that the material seized in that raid would not be returned to the owners of the shop until after a trial.
Chief Ramsay says under this law possessing the synthetic material would remain a misdemeanor.
The law focuses on the sale of product because, as the chief says availability is everything.