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Forum News Service, Published March 05 2014

Minnesota committee approves synthetic drug bill

ST. PAUL - The Minnesota House Public Safety Committee on Wednesday approved a bill to further cut into the sale of synthetic drugs.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Erik Simonson, DFL-Duluth, is in reaction to the problems associated with synthetic marijuana and other drugs produced from bath salts and other chemicals. It goes beyond lawmakers’ efforts in 2011 to curb the sales of synthetic drugs at places such as Duluth’s infamous Last Place on Earth, shut down last year by federal authorities.

The bill calls on the state Board of Pharmacy to order businesses to stop selling synthetic drugs. It also calls for a statewide educational campaign, expanded drug definitions and training for prosecutors.

The bill, HF 2446, next must clear the House Health and Human Services Committee. A Senate version, sponsored by Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, awaits committee action.