Sen. John Proos: Crackdown on synthetic drugs keeping children safe

Published 10:16 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Synthetic marijuana products are sold as harmless bath salts or incense, but are actually dangerous drugs that are harming southwest Michigan residents, especially young people.

Despite previous attempts to ban these drugs, many parents and citizens told me that these substances were still being sold at local stores.

I am proud to say that these products, commonly sold as K2 or Spice, are now permanently banned in Michigan after legislation to keep these drugs out of stores was signed by the governor last week.

Manufacturers have been trying to get around Michigan laws by continuously changing their compounds ever so slightly. These new measures will allow the state to keep up with producers and punish those who continue to sell the drugs.

To achieve this, the Michigan Board of Pharmacy and the Michigan Department of Community Health will now be able to file emergency rules to ban dangerous designer drugs by listing them as controlled substances.

A person who violates the new laws would be guilty of a felony punishable by up to four years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.

Sheriff Dale Gribler of Van Buren County said: “There have already been a number of cases of synthetic marijuana causing harm to residents — especially young people who are not aware of the dangers this drug poses.  This new law will aid law enforcement in our efforts to keep this substance out of local stores and away from our children.”

These addictive drugs have been linked to several deaths and hospitalizations, yet many teenagers do not understand the real risks of consuming them. I strongly supported these measures because it is time — once and for all — to keep our children safe by cracking down on deadly synthetic drugs.

Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien and Cass counties and most of Van Buren County.