2/19/2012 7:09:00 AM Arizona follows Cottonwood, passes bath salts ban
Governor Jan Brewer signed HB2356, which goes into effect immediately, to criminalize the sale, possession or use of synthetic chemicals commonly known as "Bath Salts" that until now have been sold under various brand names.
Kim MacEachern, staff attorney at Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys' Advisory Council, praised the new law, "We are happy this is finally in place because it will no longer infer to the children that these drugs are OK."
MacEachern, who lobbied on behalf of the bill said, "We are also seeking a way to speed up this process, as new dangerous synthetic drugs are hitting the markets on a regular basis." She noted that law enforcement was so frustrated with the use of "Bath Salts" that the City of Cottonwood passed an ordinance outlawing it about a month ago and La Paz County is exploring its options for a similar response. Likewise, a number of states are looking at analogue statutes and other approaches to expediting the criminalization process.
A derivative of cathinone, "Balt Salts" is a psychoactive substance with stimulant properties that occurs naturally in the plant khat. The effects of synthetic cathinones are similar to amphetamines like ecstasy and cocaine but Bath Salts have not been tested on humans so the specific effects may vary and medical treatment is difficult.
The law currently defines dangerous drugs as any material, compound, mixture or preparation containing hallucinogenic substances or anabolic steroids or is a stimulant or depressant with potential for abuse. Until now the list did not specifically include "Bath Salts."
The action permanently removes these dangerous drugs from retail outlets in Arizona where they had been sold and criminalizes mere possession and use. On October 21, 2011, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) used its emergency scheduling authority to control three of the synthetic stimulants related to "Bath Salts." That temporary action made possession and sale illegal in the U.S. for at least 12 months while the DEA studies whether to permanently control the substances.