County attorney: Be on the watch for synthetic drugs - News, Weather & Sports


County attorney: Be on the watch for synthetic drugs

(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)

The Maricopa County attorney is asking people who see synthetic drugs for sale at any Valley retail store to call police.

Bill Montgomery's remarks on Wednesday came in the wake of the April 3 ban of the chemical used to make so-called "spice," "K2" and other synthetic drugs. That's when Gov. Jan Brewer signed HB 2327 into law.

Despite the dangers, synthetic drugs are often marketed to teens and sold in convenience stores.

It is smoked, inhaled, swallowed or injected.

In the past, chemists and drug makers have slightly changed the way their products are made to get around the law. With HB 2327, the basic chemical formulas themselves have been outlawed, Brewer said.

The new law expands the state's definition of dangerous drugs to include chemical configurations that make up synthetic drugs.

HB 2327 included an emergency clause so it takes effect immediately.

Last year, President Barack Obama signed a federal law banning synthetic marijuana and other such drugs.

Here is Montgomery's statement in full:

"As of April 3, 2013, synthetic versions of marijuana and of ecstasy/cocaine are banned substances and are defined as dangerous drugs. Accordingly, the possession or use of synthetic cannabinoids or cathinones is now a Class 4 Felony and subject to punishment as provided at A.R.S §§ 13-3407, 13-701, 13-702 and 13-901.01. Due to Proposition 200 requirements for substance abuse treatment, probation with treatment is mandatory for the first two offenses.

"Possession for sale of these substances is a Class 3 Felony subject to punishment under A.R.S. §§ 13-3407, 13-701, 13-702, 13-901 and 13-902. The potential prison sentencing range for a first offense is 2 to 8.75 years. Transporting, importing into Arizona, or offering to do the same is a Class 2 Felony subject to the same sentencing statutes with a potential prison sentencing range for a first time offense ranging from 3 to 12.5 years.

"For members of the public who have expressed concern at ongoing sales of items label as 'Spice' or 'Bath Salts' despite previous efforts to ban these substances, the specificity with which the Legislature has now defined dangerous drugs to include specific chemical configurations that compose synthetic cannabinoids and bath salts means that any retail establishment offering these items is currently potentially guilty of a Class 3 Felony. For parents who have expressed their concerns to me over the last several months about their child's addiction to synthetic drugs and the availability of synthetic drugs in their neighborhoods and have expressed frustration at not being able to do anything, here is what you can do today:

"If the corner market or smoke shop or convenience store has these items on the shelf, call local police. These items are unlawful and have no place in legitimate commerce. Anyone selling them is subject to prosecution for a Class 3 Felony and the owner(s) of any such establishment is/are subject to prosecution for a Class 2 Felony.

"For retailers and manufacturers of synthetic drugs, you are on notice that Arizona law permits the seizure of these items for subsequent prosecution as well as the potential for the seizure of property and monies deriving from the sale of synthetic drugs, including the stores they are sold out of. Additionally, Arizona law provides the necessary jurisdiction and we have the capability, to reach beyond Arizona's borders into other states and hold those accountable for the manufacture, transportation, and/or importation of synthetic drugs into Arizona.

"I am committed to fighting the availability and use of synthetic drugs in Maricopa County. The harm to individual users and the risks posed to law enforcement as a result of contacts with people under the influence of synthetic drugs supports all lawful efforts to attack this problem. Again, if you encounter a retail store that offers synthetic drugs for sale, call police. If you own or operate a retail establishment that has these items on your store's shelves, you better take care of the situation immediately." 

Stay with for updates on this developing story.

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