Synthetic drugs are about to get the same penalties as other drugs such as cocaine.
Come July 1, those who manufacture, sell or use synthetic drugs known as K2, Spice, and Bath Salts in Michigan will face the same penalties as those who use other Schedule 1 drugs like marijuana and cocaine, according to Michigan State Police Post Commander of Rockford, Lt. Chris McIntire.
“Manufacture or to sell it is a seven-year felony," said McIntire. "To possess it‘s a two-year felony, to use it is a misdemeanor,” Lt. McIntire said.
Governor Rick Snyder signed the bills into law on June 19.
McIntire credited media coverage of the synthetics for the stronger penalties.
This new legislation closes some loopholes that allowed manufacturers to continue to sell their product after a small tweak in the chemical makeup of the drug, according to www.michigan.gov. The second thing the bills do is create a way for the Department of Community Health and the Michigan Board of Pharmacy to temporarily designate a drug as a controlled substance, ensuring a rapid response if other dangerous drugs appear.
“We’re seeing wild stories across the state and the country of the effects that K2, Spice or whatever they choose to call it, have on people, and finally the governor has seen that and enacted a law for us," McIntire said.
Aaron Hyland's business has stayed away from K2. He manages Indian River Tobacco Traders, 608 28th Street SW, Grand Rapids, Mich. “When it first come out, we had it in for about a month, stuff like that, and then we kind of find out what’s going on with it and the type of people it was attracting to our store and everything like that.” Hyland said. His store specializes in pipe tobacco, tobacco and cigars.
“You don’t hear anything good about the stuff."
Hyland applauds law makers for changing the law and said police are doing their job to get the word out about the law changing on July 1. “We had ... a detective come in here, going around and letting people know it was going to be illegal,” he said.
Being realists, Lt. McIntire said law enforcement knows not everyone is going to stop selling it; however, police will use some of the same tools they use to investigate narcotics cases to find it. “You can do the same things you can for marijuana or cocaine the labs can still test for different components that are in spice and bath salts.”
If you see someone selling or using synthetic drugs, the MSP encourages you to call 855-MICH-TIP.