Bill Banning Extremely Dangerous 'Bath Salts' in Alaska Passes Senate

Senate Bill 140 makes the sale, distribution, manufacture or possession of synthetic cathinones illegal

JUNEAU-Tuesday morning, the Alaska State Senate passed Senate Bill 140, which makes it a crime to sell, distribute, manufacture or possess synthetic cathinones. Synthetic cathinones, generally marketed as ‘bath salts’, are known to produce a high similar to methamphetamine, ecstasy, or cocaine. Symptoms include paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, suicidal behavior and violence.

“My biggest goal with this legislation is to get these extremely dangerous bath salts out of the hands of Alaska’s children,” said the sponsor of the bill, Senate Majority Leader Kevin Meyer. “With names like Meow-Meow, Vanilla Sky, Ivory Snow, and Bliss, the drugs, cloaked as ‘bath salts’, appeal to kids and may even appear safe to parents.”

Recently, the American Association of Poison Control Centers cited a 1,300 percent increase from 2011 to 2012 in ‘bath salt’ related calls to poison control centers across the nation.

“Even hardcore drug users are wary of them, yet they are marketed in a way that suggests they’re harmless,” said Senator Meyer. “Right now, these drugs are sold legally in Alaska. That’s why we moved quickly to get these potentially life-threatening substances off our store shelves.”

In a letter of support for passage of Senate Bill 140, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan said, “In response, the Municipality has enacted its own local code, but does not have the jurisdiction to deal with the influx of the drug on a state-wide basis or impose the kinds of meaningful criminal sentences that are needed to stem the manufacture, distribution, and sale of these drugs.”

Senate Bill 140 would make the manufacture, distribution, and sale, and possession of 500 milligrams or more of synthetic cathinones a Class ‘C’ felony. Possession of less than 500 milligrams would be a class ‘A’ misdemeanor.

As of October 2011, the National Council of State Legislatures reports that 33 states have adopted laws or departmental rules banning chemical compounds associated with synthetic cathinones.

Senate Bill 140 now heads to the House for further consideration.

For more information, please contact Christine Marasigan in Senator Meyer’s office at (907) 465-4945.