New bill may prohibit sales of synthetic drugs in Wisconsin

By KBJR News 1

September 23, 2013 Updated Sep 23, 2013 at 7:20 PM CDT

Ashland, WI (NNCNOW.com) --- Synthetic drug use has become a major public health concern in Superior, Ashland, and other cities throughout Wisconsin.

State lawmakers from Northwestern Wisconsin met with community leaders and area law enforcement agencies in an attempt to strengthen state laws that prohibit the use and sale of synthetic drugs.

"The community has made it very clear that we will not have tolerance for these synthetic canabanoids," said Rep. Janet Bewley (D - Ashland).

State Senator Bob Jauch, and State Representative Janet Bewley discussed a bill that will be introduced on Thursday.

If passed it would give the justice system the tools they need to successfully prosecute synthetic drug sales cases.

"Synthetic marijuana is mislabeled. It's not some harmless drug... It is a position. It's dangerous to our communities," said Rep. Bob Jauch (D - Poplar).

Lawmakers say they've been working for months to strengthen the laws.

"The laws that we have are basically ineffective," said Kelly McKnight, Ashland District Attorney.

They say broadening the definition of synthetics will enable law enforcement to crack down more effectively.

"High school students are using it more and more frequently. We've got to get it off our streets by banning it's sale," said Senator Jauch.

He says that he believes the bill will be quickly adopted and put into law.

Elsa Robins