New York State will have some new enforcement alternatives against synthetic drugs starting today.
NY Governor Cuomo has announced a set of new regulations which will enable local law enforcement officers, for the first time, to pursue perpetrators under state laws and refer violators to local District Attorneys for prosecution.
Although federal law bans the manufacture or sale of many of these substances, it is on the local level that most crimes for drug possession and sales are prosecuted.
According to a press release by the Office of the Governor, The State Health Department and the New York State Police will coordinate investigations and arrests with local law enforcement and district attorneys.
New criminal penalties will include a fine up to $500 and or up to 15 days in jail for the sales, distribution, and possession of synthetic drugs.
New civil penalties will include a fine of up to $2,000 per violation.
Some press reports also suggest that businesses could be shuttered with these regulations; however, the press release does not address this issue. (To the Maximus Blog has contacted the Governor’s press office, and is awaiting confirmation regarding that area of the new regulations, and we will update our story as we find out more information.)
The new regulations, issued today by the New York Department of Health and approved by the Public Health and Health Planning Council, will expand the existing list of prohibited drugs and chemicals to include dozens more substances
that are now used to make synthetic drugs, better ensuring that distributors can no longer skirt the law by simply modifying the drug’s ingredients.
In addition, the regulations will allow for the first time an owner of an establishment and/or an employee selling synthetic drugs to be charged with possession of an illicit substance.
This may be a substantial deterrent to the sales of these drugs “over the counter” at convenience stores, gas stations, and novelty shops–but it may not be enough deterrent to curb the huge profits stores make from these drugs on a daily basis, which are reported to be as high as $50,000 per day.
“Bath salts and other synthetic drugs pose a direct, serious threat to public health and safety, and we must do everything we can to remove these harmful substances from sale and distribution in New York,” Governor Cuomo said.
“The actions we are announcing today attack the problem by helping our law enforcement officers enforce the rules, expanding the list of banned substances used to manufacture bath salts, and imposing tougher penalties so those who sell these drugs are held accountable.”
The laws against synthetic drugs are almost as experimental as the synthetic drugs themselves. We are hoping that this latest “tweak” in the NY State enforcement strategy is successful in curbing the epidemic of synthetic drug crimes, hospitalizations, and deaths.
Heartbroken mothers and city’s emergency room doctors praise Gov. Cuomo’s crackdown on synthetic pot and bath salts
Synthetic drugs linked to deaths upstate and in Illinois
BY HEIDI EVANS / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
TUESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2012, 3:00 AM
Gov. Cuomo is keeping the heat on the little guys in the big war against designer drugs.
This is welcome news to city emergency room doctors who have been rescuing way too many teenagers showing up with heart palpitations, hallucinations, high blood pressure and anxiety from synthetic pot and bath salts.
“Anything you can do to make these drugs a little more unreachable is a good thing,” said Dr. Lewis Nelson of NYU Medical Center. “The belief is that if it’s sold in a store, not by a corner drug dealer how bad can it be? This won’t stop people from using it all together, like any drug. But it will make people think twice.”
Cuomo’s move was also music to the ears of mothers like Deirdre Canaday of upstate New York, whose 26 year-old son, Aaron, never woke up after smoking a packet of “Mr. Nice Guy” in September.
And to Karen Dobner of Illinois, whose mild-mannered son, Max, 19, bought some iAroma at a mall and was so out of his mind after smoking it, he drove 100 mph through his suburban Chicago neighborhood and crashed through a house killing himself on impact.
“Good for Gov. Cuomo,” Dobner said. “[If] you shut down these local head shops or bodegas, they will stop poisoning our kids.”