KINGMAN - Synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of street drugs ranging from cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine are now illegal in Arizona thanks to emergency legislation passed last week.
Gov. Jan Brewer signed the measure into law on Wednesday. The legislation bans chemicals used in the production of synthetic marijuana, called Spice, and so-called bath salts that mimic the effects of crystal meth.
Mohave County Sheriff's spokeswoman Trish Carter said she's happy with the new law.
"We have not seen a large problem in Mohave County," she said. "We know these drugs were sold in tattoo parlors and smoke shops. We're pleased with the legislation because it ensures our children will be out of harm's way and won't have easy access."
Rogue chemists got around previous state laws enacted to stop the drugs from being made and sold by altering a single molecule in the formula.
The new law, House Bill 2327 that was sponsored by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-D12, bans the basic chemical formulas.
"The production and use of these synthetic drugs is a growing epidemic in Arizona and nationwide, and poses a threat to our citizens," said Brewer in a statement.
Since the legislation contained an emergency clause, it went into effect immediately.
The Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys' Advisory Council applauded the new law, saying there have been reports of severe psychosis, kidney problems and even death after someone has used synthetic drugs.
Persons who possess or use of the drug face a class 4 felony charge; those who possess the equipment or chemicals used to make it face a class 3 felony charge, and those who sell, transport or manufacture the drug face a class 2 felony charge.
Carter said Mohave County is making efforts to ensure the products are off the shelves and no longer sold.
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