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K2, Spice, Ivory Wave, Pure Ivory, and others. These are the terms with which law enforcement has become all too familiar over the past two years. These terms relate to a number of legal products that contain hallucinogenic and stimulant substances that have rapidly grown in popularity since 2009.
Today, people, including minors, can walk into any number of convenience stores, gas stations, and head shops across the state and purchase incense, bath salts, plant food, and other similar products marketed for in-home use and labeled not for human consumption. It is common knowledge, however, among those making such purchases that the products can be smoked, snorted, or otherwise ingested.
The results are powerful and devastating. That’s because the products are laced with one or more synthetic cannabinoids, or one of two other chemicals commonly referred to as MDPV and Mephedrone.
Synthetic cannabinoids are hallucinogens, but also cause seizures, agitation, and paranoia. They are manufactured, often overseas, and then sprayed onto other products packaged for legal sale. MDPV and Mephedrone are potent stimulants, but also cause hallucinations, agitation and paranoia. They are usually in a powdered form, similar in appearance to cocaine or methamphetamine.
Since the increasing status of these drugs is such a recent phenomenon, none of these substances are covered by Chapter 961 Wis. Stats., Wisconsin’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Assembly Bill 57 changes that.
AB 57 amends Chapter 961 by expanding the list of hallucinogenic controlled substances to include several identified synthetic cannabinoids. The bill also amends Ch. 961 by expanding the list of stimulant controlled substances to include MDPV and Mephedrone. Perhaps just as important, the bill also expands the list of controlled substances to include all precursors and analogs of synthetic cannabinoids, MDPV, and Mephedrone.
Substance abuse can cause physical and psychological damage to the user. In addition, substance abusers force unpredictable and dangerous encounters with their local law enforcement, and force their communities to deal with more vandalism, traffic accidents, property thefts, identity theft, etc. Drug use by parents often brings increased cases of child neglect, endangerment, and even abuse.
We need to make sure that law enforcement agencies and prosecutors have the tools to eliminate or at least limit substance abuse and its negative impacts. Please join me in supporting Assembly Bill 57.