Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, announced today he introduced Senate Bill 139 to combat the prevalence of synthetic recreational drugs in communities across California.
“These drugs have become a growing threat to our children and our communities. They are extremely dangerous but have proven incredibly difficult to regulate due to their synthetic makeup,” stated Wilk. “This bill will allow local governments to monitor the ever-changing landscape of these drugs and to do their part to stem the tide of victimization for our young people by the manufacturers and retailers of these horrible substances.”
SB 139 will enable a city or county to regulate the sale of these substances – often sold as bath salts, incense or bird seed under names like “spice” – if, after a public hearing, it is determined that the substance has been advertised, purchased or consumed as a recreational drug and the substance can cause intoxication, disability, or death if swallowed, smoked, inhaled or injected in to the body.
Wilk emphasized that the people who sell these drugs rely on the difficulty faced by law enforcement while they wait for legislation prohibiting the latest chemical compound to be passed. As soon as these laws begin to impact the synthetic substance being sold, manufacturers change the chemical makeup to evade the new law. Wilk’s legislation proposes a unique solution to this problem by enabling local government regulation of toxic substances that can be harmful to minors.
“I am particularly troubled by how easily these drugs fall into the possession of young people,” added Wilk. “SB 139 will provide cities, counties and law enforcement agencies statewide with an additional tool they need to protect the health and safety of our children.”
The measure is currently pending referral in the Senate Rules committee and could be heard in a policy committee as early as March.