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[s31] Sen. Merritt: Full Senate Approves New ‘Look-Alike’ Synthetic Drug Ban
Start Date: 2/19/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 2/19/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 19, 2013) Today, the full Senate approved a bill authored by State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) to increase restrictions on synthetic drugs in Indiana.

Senate Bill 536, which passed 47-2, would make it illegal to possess or deal “look-alike” synthetic drugs, as current state law only prohibits substances identified as synthetic drugs based on their chemical makeup.

“Although we’ve allowed room for emergency making rules to identify new synthetic drugs, manufacturers are too quick to develop new and more dangerous substances,” Merritt said. “Our new law would follow an old adage — if it smells like a skunk and looks like a skunk, it’s probably a skunk.”

Merritt said SB 536 would also give law enforcement officials and prosecutors new tools to fight the synthetic drug epidemic in Hoosier communities. His legislation would alter the current definition of “intoxication” under Indiana Code to include impairment by any substance, excluding food and food ingredients, tobacco or a dietary supplement. The Hoosier state’s current definition for intoxication only includes impairment by certain substances like alcohol and controlled drugs — creating situations in which police were unable to arrest a person driving under the influence of a newly created synthetic drug.

Indiana retailers who are selling synthetic drugs and look-alikes for profits could face stronger penalties as well. Merritt’s bill calls for retail merchants’ certificates to be automatically suspended for one year if they’re convicted of selling the dangerous substances. Additionally, under SB 536, the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act (DCSA) and the drug nuisance statute would be strengthened in order to help the Attorney General’s office bring civil actions against retailers to stop the sale of synthetic drugs.

“Senator Jim Merritt’s efforts to expand enforcement opportunities and strengthen state law to more effectively crackdown on synthetic drugs are welcomed by stakeholders in law enforcement to ensure loopholes are closed and these dangerous drugs are taken off store shelves,” said Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

SB 536 now moves to the Indiana House of Representatives for further consideration.

-30-

Contact Information:
Name: Whitney Moorman
Phone: 317-232-7184
Email: wmoorman@iga.in.gov
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Entry Type:
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  • IN.gov Category:
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  • Agency Name
    Senate Republican Caucus

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