The state legislature has for several years passed bills that add another round of chemical compounds to the list of controlled substances. These compounds are called “synthetic cannabinoids,” or more commonly, “K-2,” and are often sold as incense.
The reason such laws keep coming up is because once a new compound is added to Missouri law, says bill sponsor, Representative Shawn Rhoads (R-West Plains), makers change their products to a slightly different compound.
“I think what our problem is,” Rhoads theorizes, “is having a hard time of getting a good legal interpretation of what needs to be fixed [with the original law].”
Representative David Wood (D-Versailles) says lawmakers have long tried to find a permanent solution.
“We’ve been after that legal interpretation,” says Woods. “In fact we had Department of Public Safety, the Attorney General’s Office, the Highway Patrol Crime Lab all in our office, trying to discuss and come up with a way to come up with a language that would fit so we wouldn’t have to continually do these updates.”
Representative Jeff Roorda (D-Barnhart) offered a bill to let the Department of Health temporarily put compounds on that list until the legislature could take more permanent action. Roorda was frustrated when his proposal was defeated by Republicans who said they didn’t want to relinquish more of the legislature’s rule making power to a state agency.
“The gentleman who brought this bill forward is completely full of good intentions, but his bill accomplishes nothing because these drug dealers stay one step ahead of the process that we have right now, so let’s fix it with a process that works.”
The House needs one more favorable vote to send that bill to the Senate.
The legislation is HB 1051.