Simonson plans to introduce synthetic drug bill in Minnesota Legislature again next yearA bill designed to combat the sale of synthetic drugs and look-alike products in Minnesota has failed to clear its first hurdle.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
A bill designed to combat the sale of synthetic drugs and look-alike products in Minnesota has failed to clear its first hurdle.
Rep. Erik Simonson, DFL-Duluth, acknowledged Tuesday that the bill he introduced did not receive a hearing in time to survive a legislative deadline. But Simonson said he’s looking ahead to the next legislative session.
“I’m going to keep working on this bill, so I can hit the ground running with it again in January,” he said.
Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, introduced a companion bill last week, but it, too, stalled in committee. Even though the bills won’t make it into law this session, Reinert contends they still served a valuable purpose.
“Kudos to Erik for taking the lead on this,” he said. “Getting this idea out there and getting people talking about it was a very important first step.”
Reinert noted that of the more than 2,000 bills that are introduced in the Senate during a typical session, only about 100 are passed into law. But he said good ideas have a way of resurfacing, sometimes as part of other bills.
Simonson said he was pleased to enlist Reinert’s support and called him “a key player.”
Reinert said the Legislature continues to struggle with how to control quickly evolving synthetic or “designer” drugs. As quickly as chemical compounds can be outlawed, new analogs are developed and appear on the market to take their place.
Simonson’s bill, which is modeled after laws passed in Illinois and Indiana, would make it illegal to sell any product that a reasonable person would recognize as a substance meant to mimic the effects of a federally controlled narcotic, even if that product is labeled as not being for human consumption.
Many of the synthetic drugs now being sold are marketed as non-ingestible products such as incense or bath salts.