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Bill on Governors Desk Looks to Tackle Synthetic Drug Loopholes

June 9th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
A loophole in Florida law concerning synthetic drugs is likely to be closed thanks to a bill awaiting the Governor signature.
The bill will make new drugs automatically illegal.
Earlier this year the Governor declared the opiate crisis in Florida a public health emergency.
His declaration was largely a response to synthetic opiates like fentanyl and carfentanyl, which are linked to a large portion of the nearly 4,000 annual opiate related deaths in the state.
“Ten to twelve people per day are dying across this state,” said Senator Darryl Rouson.
The new controlled substance act would increase penalties on traffickers of fentanyl and carfentanyl along with synthetic versions of marijuana and benzos.
Dealers have been making slight changes to the chemical make up of synthetic drugs to side step the law.
“Every year we have another bill to deal with the latest form of the drug that’s being shipped and killing our Floridians,” said bill sponsor Represenative Jim Boyd.
The act would make a wide range of substances illegal to close the loophole.
“This hopefully will encompass a broader range of those changes that they make to drugs so enforcement will be a lot easier,” said Rep. Boyd.
The bill also includes mandatory minimums for possession of large quantities  synthetic drugs, which some lawmakers find problematic.
The issue was debated heavily in both chambers. Senator Jeff Brandes argued judges should have discretion in seeking mandatory minimums.
“Let them look at the facts of the case. Let them look at the individual facts and make a decision about what the correct sentence should be,” said Sen. Brandes.
The debate revived interest among lawmakers to take a serious look at mandatory minimums for other drugs next year.
If signed into law the bill will take effect in October of this year.

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