Today’s Republic features a story — you can read it here — about Pinal County Attorney James Walsh’s attempt to crack down on the synthetic drug market in his county, using tactics that Yavapai CA Sheila Polk introduced last year.
The state’s passed laws that outlaw specific substances that have been used to create the dangerous but often legal drugs like spice and others.
The problem, of course, is that the chemists behind these drugs simply tweak the formula and create a new, legal version of the drug substances recently outlawed. So, in other words, law enforcement’s always playing catch up.
But an attempt by one Republican — Rep. Linda Gray — to make it quicker to deal with these formulas was shot down by fellow Republicans in this year’s legislature, led by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth of Gilbert.
Her plan — you can read it here — “sponsored would have given the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy power to add chemicals to its controlled-substances list without legislative approval to ban chemicals used in new bath-salts derivations without waiting for lawmakers to return to session and pass a bill banning the new versions.”
The bill also “required board members to consult with a Department of Public Safety forensic scientist, who typically would identify new drugs for legislators and ensure chemicals met certain criteria before they could be banned.”
Sounds reasonable, right? Give the experts the power to ban in real time the chemicals used in the latest synthetic drug formulas, but with the same oversight by the DPS used by legislators to craft laws to ban specific chemicals. Plus, it allows those drugs to be outlawed at any time; as is, it takes a bill passed by the legislature to enact bans.
Not good enough for Eddie Farnsworth, and enough House Republicans, however. Because when the bill reached the House floor, it got deep-sixed.
According to a Republicstory at the time, “Farnsworth, however, said granting authority to the pharmacy board to ban chemical substances was the same as giving police the ability to make something a crime, a power he said belongs exclusively to the Legislature.
“He said the bill violated the separation of powers and was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority.
” ‘What we have to be very careful of is that we don’t decide that somehow the ends of trying to prevent people from committing crimes is going to justify the means of destroying the protections we have in the Constitution.’ “
Of course, the bills Farnsworth voted for — the ones that have banned specific chemical compounds — came from . . . wait for it, wait for it . . . the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy.
Many often wonder just what drugs our legislature’s on when they introduce their silly bills and even pass some of them. Farnsworth’s opposition to a reasonable bill is just another example of how legislators-appearing-to-be-in-altered-states screw the rest of us.
If only those chemists could come up with synthetic brains for our brain-dead legislators.