Wilk bill battles synthetic drugs

Sen. Scott Wilk

State Sen. Scott Wilk on Wednesday announced a measure to regulate so-called synthetic recreational drugs in California – something he called “a growing threat to our children and our communities.’’

Wilk’s Senate Bill 139 would “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.’’

Said Wilk: “These drugs … are extremely dangerous but have proven incredibly difficult to regulate due to their synthetic makeup.

“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.”

Wilk said his measure would plug loopholes that vendors exploit to circumvent law enforcement.

“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,’’ Wilk’s statement said.

“As soon as these laws begin to impact the synthetic substance being sold, manufacturers change the chemical makeup to evade the new law.’’

“I am particularly troubled by how easily these drugs fall into the possession of young people,” said 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 in the Senate Rules committee, and could advance to a policy committee by March, Wilk’s office said.

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