Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I,-Pulaski) said today it’s the Assembly’s turn to take up legislation to penalize users of synthetic drugs. The Senate passed legislation yesterday that would make it a crime to use synthetic drugs, similar to how controlled substance users are penalized.
“This is the next step to combating these drugs. There has to be consequences for users, similar to how marijuana or illegal narcotic users are penalized,” said Barclay.
The New York State Health Department banned synthetic drugs from being sold in March. Barclay applauded these efforts, saying this will help keep drugs away from unsuspecting users but the ban does not penalize current users. Barclay said the drugs, known as K2 and Spice, are dangerous. Side effects include high blood pressure, hallucination, cardiovascular responses, agitation, increased sweating and inability to speak. Deaths also have been reported.
Legislation that passed the Senate yesterday also would create a statewide surrender program; individuals may anonymously surrender products containing synthetic cannabinoids. The state also would need to establish and maintain a database of known synthetic cannabinoids, available for consumers, retailers and law enforcement agencies to access if this legislation becomes law. Many law enforcement agencies report increased crime due to increased synthetic drug abuse.
“I’m hopeful the Assembly, in the final weeks of session for the year, can take up this measure and give law enforcement the tools it needs to penalize users,” said Barclay.