In response to concerns raised by law enforcement in Western Wisconsin, legislation to ban the sale of synthetic marijuana and other potent stimulants in our state was introduced. These chemicals mimic the effect of marijuana and cocaine when ingested and currently can be purchased across the counter by consumers of any age. Often times, the chemicals are much more potent than the drugs they imitate and are produced without any regard to safety. The sale and use of synthetic marijuana has led to numerous cases of teens and young adults being hospitalized.
Current law prohibits the manufacture, distribution, delivery, or possession of substances included in the schedule of controlled substances. These substances are categorized into 5 different schedules depending on the nature of the substance. Schedule I substances are those that have a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use, and are not accepted as safe for use in treatment under medical supervision. Senate Bill 54 identifies several non-narcotic, hallucinogenic substances known as synthetic cannabinoids and stimulants, such as synthetic marijuana and bath salts, and classifies them as Schedule I controlled substances.
A first offense for possession of a synthetic cannabinoid may a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment for up to 6 months, or both. A second offense constitutes a Class I felony, increasing the penalty to up to $10,000 and up to 3.5 years in prison. A person guilty of manufacturing, distributing, or delivering a synthetic cannabinoid commits a Class H felony and is subject to a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment up to 6 years.
I am pleased to have authored SB 54 which helps create a safer environment for consumers of all ages by outlawing the sale and use of dangerous synthetic substances, removing them from the market, and providing law enforcement with the tools to address their growing use. The bill was signed into law today by the Governor.