Created: 02/04/2014 5:55 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
State lawmakers are trying to stay one step ahead of the chemists who cook up "designer drugs" - but will it do any good?
That's the question at the State Capitol as lawmakers conduct the first hearing on a bill that would update and expand the state's law banning ingredients in synthetic pot. Here's the problem - you go ahead and outlaw the ingredients that make people high in "Spice" or "K-2" and right away some chemist in some drug lab somewhere tweaks a molecule here and a molecule there and - bingo - he's got a new ingredient that's not against the law.
Three years ago New Mexico outlawed 26 synthetic pot ingredients. The new bill adds more than 100 new ones to the list. East Mountains Republican Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort sponsored the first bill and now the new one.
"We have seen very little effect so we're going to try again," Beffort said before her bill's first committee hearing. "We're going to expand the various names of these new chemicals in hopes that the police will understand that these are illegal and they can make arrests."
Last year Arizona tried a different approach - a broad ban on any material that contains any quantity of any substance that mimics cannabis. Critics say the law is to broad, but New Mexico lawmakers want to see how it plays out in court.
"We haven't had massive arrests on the sale of these products," Beffort said. "We haven't had any of the retailers prosecuted and in fact now our children are in greater harm's way."
Doctors say use of synthetic dope can lead to paranoia, hallucinations, violent behavior, kidney failure, heart attack - even death. The White House drug policy team estimates about 10 percent of American teenagers tried the stuff during the past year.