Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) announced the Assembly passed bipartisan legislation that she co-sponsored to help crack down on the manufacture and use of methamphetamines in New York. The legislation also has the support of the governor and the state Senate (A.9002).
"With the illegal manufacture and use of methamphetamine on the rise across the Southern Tier this tough measure sends a strong message that we will not tolerate meth labs anywhere in our community," Lupardo said.
Methamphetamine is an addictive and powerful stimulant that activates certain systems in the brain. The drug is associated with serious health conditions, including aggression, violence, psychotic behavior, memory loss and potential heart and neurological damage.
Current law creates too many problems for law enforcement agencies who investigate methamphetamine lab sites because in most cases, if there is evidence that a meth lab exists but no drug is found, police cannot make a felony arrest. The bipartisan legislation will amend state law to permit law enforcement to make an arrest when they discover an illegal meth lab.
The bill also makes it illegal to possess certain ingredients needed for the manufacture of methamphetamine, with the intention to manufacture the drug.
"At present, it’s difficult to build a case against methamphetamine suspects because the drug is made from legal items that almost anyone can get, like cough medicine and fertilizer," Lupardo said. "This legislation targets the illegal manufacture of the drug at its source, making it a valuable tool to help law enforcement officers prosecute these drug dealers."
The comprehensive methamphetamine bill will:
- make the theft of liquid anhydrous ammonia, or the possession of stolen liquid anhydrous ammonia, a popular meth precursor, a felony;
- create a new crime of illegal manufacture of methamphetamine when a person possesses certain combinations of meth-making equipment, and ingredients used to manufacture meth; and
- create additional crimes for disposing of hazardous materials that are the result of a meth lab.
Additional provisions within the bill provide a statewide data repository to help law enforcement with ongoing investigations, implement a statewide methamphetamine education program to inform children and others on the risk of methamphetamine use and production, and facilitate the cooperation between the state police and the Department of Environmental Conservation as they work together to clean up lab sites.
The legislation follows earlier action by the Assembly to make it a crime to steal or possess stolen anhydrous ammonia, an agricultural fertilizer and industrial refrigerant that is also a key ingredient in the illegal production of methamphetamines (A.605).
"We know from a 2002 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration survey that nearly 13 million Americans age 12 and older have tried methamphetamine," Lupardo said. "We cannot permit this problem to grow. The drug is having a devastating impact on our community. We need these tough new measures to effectively combat methamphetamine production and consumption in New York."