Missouri lawmakers are trying to keep a step ahead of the designers of synthetic drugs.

The House approved HB 641 after accepting the changes made in the Senate. It now heads to Governor Nixon’s desk.

House sponsor, Rep. Ward Franz (R-West Plains), tells colleagues during House floor debate that the bill closes a loophole in the ban on synthetic marijuana, K2, which the legislature approved last year. Current law bans a specific version of synthetic marijuana. It didn’t take creative chemists very long to get around it, sometimes to a horrifying degree, according to Franz.

Franz says that one designer drug with an innocent name is very dangerous. It goes by the name of “bath salts”, but is really a dangerous stimulant, similar to cocaine of methamphetamine. It can be injected, smoked or snorted. The drug has become popular among youth as a legal high.

The House has approved on a 143-13 vote the bill that bans a wide range of chemical compounds.

AUDIO: House floor debate on HB641 [25 min MP3]