Northern Wisconsin officials focus on synthetic drugsNorthern Wisconsin legislators and local leaders are coming together today in Superior to talk about how to better enforce synthetic drug laws in Wisconsin, and it could mean new legislation.
By: Joe Gigliotti, Wisconsin Public Radio
Northern Wisconsin legislators and local leaders are coming together today in Superior to talk about how to better enforce synthetic drug laws in Wisconsin, and it could mean new legislation.
Synthetic marijuana sales in Duluth have caused headaches for many, and Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen
doesn’t want a similar situation in his city. He called state Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, to discuss Wisconsin’s laws on the drugs.
“My current understanding is that the law which Bob Jauch authored in 2011 may not be as enforceable as once thought,” Hagen said.
Jauch’s legislation banned synthetic marijuana possession, distribution and delivery, but slight chemical changes to substances can make them legal. Jauch will lead a roundtable discussion on Wisconsin’s synthetic drug situation and how to make laws tougher.
“We hope that the language in our prospective legislation will be broad enough to give law enforcement the opportunity to prosecute based upon the impacts of the drug. Not the ingredients of the drug but the impact of the ingredients of the drug.”
Jauch said synthetic drug use is a big issue, and synthetic marijuana is the biggest concern.
“It’s becoming the most serious problem faced in emergency rooms and communities large and small,” he said.
Effects of the drugs can include psychotic behavior, paranoia, extreme anxiety and hallucinations, according to Narconon International.
Leading the discussion with Jauch will be Rep. Nick Milroy, D-South Range. He said there’s a growing epidemic of the substances in Wisconsin.
“The Lac du Flambeau band has declared a state of emergency on their reservation,” Milroy said. “I know there are concerns in the Twin Ports, and there are concerns in the Chequamegon Bay area with retailers that are trying to skirt the law and sell these harmful substances to customers over the counter.”
Local government, law enforcement and health officials will also be part of the session. Milroy says for sellers, the profits outweigh the risks. “There’s a lot of money to be made by the people who are in business for selling these types of drugs.”
The discussion is at 2:30 p.m. today in Room 270 of the Superior Government Center. It’s open to the public.