The state Assembly voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of legislation meant, in part, to prevent prosecutors from having to enlist pharmacologists to attest to the psychological effects of synthetic drugs in cases against sellers of the banned substances.
Senate Bill 325 is an attempt at preventing makers of illegal synthetic drugs from altering the chemical formulas of their products in a way that circumvents current prohibitions. To that end, the bill would outlaw 16 basic chemical compounds and the various methods that can be used to alter those compounds’ chemical structure without taking away their intoxicating effects. It also would add about 150 substances to the list of synthetic drugs the state bans.
The sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, said the legislation is meant to fulfill the intentions behind a 2011 law that explicitly banned 10 synthetic substances. Even though that legislation prohibited the sale or use of analogs that were chemically similar to those explicitly outlawed drugs, prosecutors have found the ban difficult to enforce.
Part of the trouble with the 2011 law, state lawyers have said, is that it forced prosecutors who wanted to prove something was an illegal analog to hire experts who could attest to the psychological effects of the particular substance. Those experts could prove expensive, making counties reluctant to compensate them for testifying.
SB 325 passed the Senate on Nov. 5. To become law, it still must be signed by Gov. Scott Walker.Follow @TDR_WLJDan