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Majority Leader Proposes Anti-Drug Legislation

Johansen’s HB 327 strengthens law, restricts access and criminalizes “Sally D”

Friday, February 05, 2010, Juneau, Alaska – House Majority Leader Kyle Johansen, R-Ketchikan, today introduced HB 327, which would strengthen the state’s anti-drug laws. District One constituents approached Johansen with the components of the bill, and recognizes that the issues of illegal and recreational use and prescription drug abuse are common throughout the state.

“I feel for the families of drug dependents, and those who’ve lost a loved one to drug abuse,” Johansen said. “We need to make sure our anti-drug laws are reflective of today’s issues and drug abuse trends.”

HB 327 proposes criminalizing the psychoactive plant Salvia divinorum, or “Sally D,” its common shorthand reference. Salvia is a powerful hallucinogenic similar to mescaline and peyote. HB 327 treats it like a Schedule IIA drug, whose classifications cover those with a very high risk of addiction and/or abuse.

“Salvia has similar qualities to other powerful hallucinogens that the state has seen fit to make illegal, and need to follow suit,” Johansen said. “When our kids can legally buy a product similar to mescaline and peyote we have a duty to step in and regulate that product.”

HB 327 also proposes curbing the abuse of products containing the drug dextromethorphan, or DXM, a common ingredient in over-the-counter cough suppressants. The bill would make it a class B misdemeanor to sell products containing DXM to a person under the age of 18, and require retailers to clearly label the containers or place them behind the counter. Retailers would also be required to notify their employees of the restrictions and secure written acknowledgement of the law.

“Our kids, our teens think it is safe to get high off a product they can buy at the grocery store,” Johansen said. “We cannot allow this to continue. This issue has flown under the radar for too long and we are duty-bound to act.”

HB 327 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

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