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Under current law illegal drugs are categorized into certain penalty groups carrying specific legal consequences for the manufacture, possession, sale, and use of those drugs. In order to get around the legal consequences of those drugs, some people have taken to manufacturing new synthetic drugs designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs. In many cases these new designer drugs are even more dangerous than the drugs they were created to replace. These new drugs are legal because they are so new that they are not specifically prohibited by law.
It can not be stated strongly enough that these new drugs are designed for the express purpose of flaunting existing law by manufacturing a substance that is in essentially the same (or more dangerous) as an already illegal drug and thereby getting around the law on a technicality because existing statute doesn't specifically name the new drugs in the code. This allows people to exploit a loophole and avoid the responsibility associated with the legal jeopardy of the illegal drugs they are replacing.
This legislation closes that loophole and treats the new designer drugs equally under the law as the drugs they replace, thus making the manufacturers, distributors, and users of both drugs subject to the same treatment under the law and therefore held to the same standards of legal responsibility.
We have supported several similar bills this session that did not come with the added cost of a fiscal note as does HB 1424. Notably we supported SB 172 and HB 1200 which approaches the same subject through the use of civil penalties.
Due to the fiscal note on this bill and the fact that other legislation is working through the system that deals with this issue in a potentially less costly manner, we are neutral on HB 1424.