Bondi Files Emergency Order Banning 22 Synthetic Drugs
December 12, 2012 | WMFE - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed an emergency rule Tuesday outlawing twenty-two new synthetic drugs, those that mimic the effects of cocaine, marketed as "bath salts," as well as others that users know as synthetic pot but sold in smoke shops and convenience stores as herbal incense commonly called "K-2" or "Spice."
Synthetic drugs can cause psychotic episodes, seizures, and paranoia and, Attorney General Pam Bondi says, the substances have been linked to thousands of emergency room visits nationwide.
“If you look at this, it says ‘not for human consumption.’ and, I’ve seen many of the products we’ve seized that we know are illegal and you look at the back of them.” Bondi said. “They know to place a rubber stamp on them that says this is not illegal and the sad thing is our children are buying it.”
Bondi says the substances are usually marketed as an alternative to drugs, like ecstasy, marijuana, and cocaine and, she says, she’s continually disgusted by how they market the products toward children.
“These are Scooby Snacks.” Bondi said. “You think this is directed at an adult? This is directed at a young child! Look at this one. It’s cotton candy, and if you touch and feel it, it feels like cotton candy. These are marketed to children,…Batman, the Joker. These are disgusting.”
Bondi’s office has been working with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as well as the Florida Department of Health across the state to crack down on synthetic drug use.
FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey says law enforcement is making headway on the effort, but at times, it can be hard.
“The main difference between these drugs and illegal drugs we regularly deal with are these are readily available on the open market, like truck stops, smoke shops, convenient stories, and now over the internet.” Bailey says.
He says since Bondi’s announcement Tuesday morning, law enforcement officers across the state have been visiting the retailers and asking them to willingly surrender their product.
The emergency order makes it a third-degree felony to sell or manufacture such drug and Bondi made it clear the authorities will be watching shopkeepers who ignore the order.
“If you're selling this stuff and you know it's illegal, you take it off your shelves when you see police officers and you put it back on, we're coming after you.” Bondi said. “We will do everything in our power to put you out of business because you're no better than a common, street-level drug dealer."
Bondi has worked with the Florida Legislature to outlaw similar substances before but manufacturers keep producing the drugs with new chemicals.
She says she plans to continue working with the 2013 state Legislature to ban the 22 drugs permanently.