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Synthetic drug bills before Haslam

Three anti-synthetic drug bills have recently passed both the Tennessee House and Senate legislature and they are expected to be signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam in the near future. The bills target the possession, manufacture and distribution of synthetic drugs.Residents in the Tri-Cities area have fought against synthetic drugs in their communities in recent months. These products, often packaged as bath salts or incense and potpourri, have appeared in various stores in the area. Citizens organized protests and prayer walks, including residents of Johnson County. The Drug Enforcement Agency, along with authorities from Washington, Sullivan, Carter and Johnson Counties conducted raids on March 21, 2012 that targeted locations selling synthetic drugs that contained specific ingredients that had previously been declared illegal under federal law. The raids were the result of an eight-month investigation.
Mountain City recently passed a moratorium against synthetic drugs that would prohibit the sale, trade, barter or exchange of any chemical compound in these drugs not governed by the State of Tennessee within the limits of Mountain City. Johnson County
declared synthetic drugs a public nuisance, giving the county government the ability to shut down a business as well as impose civil fines.
“As I’ve said before, the wheels of the legislature process move slowly. These synthetic drugs have reached their final destination. I am so grateful for the community activists, religious groups, the district attorney’s office, local law enforcement and the medical community for working with us to ban these drugs,” said Johnson County’s State Representative, Scotty Campbell.
A bill introduced by State Representative Ryan Williams expands the list of chemical compounds whose production, distribution or sale are considered a crime under the current law. This legislation makes it illegal for manufacturers to use the psychoactive stimulant, methcathinone, and any of its derivatives or analogues in the production of synthetic drugs.
An analog is a drug that is similar in its effect on people to other drugs but its chemical properties are different. Once signed into law, it would be a Class A misdemeanor for someone to knowingly produce, manufacture, distribute, sell or possess with intent any product containing the many compounds listed in both the current and new legislation.