Indiana retailers can expect a formal notice and warning from state and local officials that continued synthetic drug sales could cost them their business, according to the State Attorney General Office. Beginning last week, Indiana retailers caught selling the fake drugs known as bath salts and spice will face penalties that include the loss of their retail merchant certificate of business for one year.
The Attorney General’s Office is also asking retailers to sign a “Synthetic Drug Community Protection Agreement” to stop selling the illegal products and relinquish related inventory to the Drug Enforcement Administration. If the agreement is violated, the document will be used to establish the owner’s knowledge of and intent to violate applicable Indiana and federal law.
In July, President Obama signed into law the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, which contains a provision that makes synthetic drugs like synthetic marijuana and bath salts controlled substances and therefore illegal to sell on store shelves.
As a result, the sale and distribution of synthetic marijuana and bath salts is now classified by the federal government as the sale of controlled substances and is treated in a manner similar to the sale of cocaine, ecstasy, and other illegal drugs.
In response, at least 44 states have already banned one or both of the substances. Legislation in 2009 and 2010 targeted specific versions of the drugs. However, minor changes to the chemical make-up of these substances can create new but very similar drugs not covered in the law. In response, 2011 and 2012 legislation targets entire classes of substances and aims to prevent new formulations of synthetic drugs from remaining unregulated, while still allowing the substances for approved medical and research purposes. (NACS: www.nacsonline.com)