Rochester, N.Y. - Governor Andrew Cuomo says new regulations will make it illegal in New York State to sell or possess bath salts or synthetic drugs.
The New York State Department of Health issued the new regulations to crack down on the use of these drugs, often sold legally in some stores.
The new regulations expand the list of prohibited drugs and chemicals, to include dozens that are used to make synthetic drugs. These drugs are often made with modified versions of controlled substances, which is why they can be sold legally. That will change, now that many of these chemicals have been banned.
The regulations will also allow owners of a store or establishment selling the synthetic drugs to be charged with possession of an illicit substance.
During federal raids last week, authorities charged clerks at three stores, but did not charge the owner of the store. U.S. Attorney, William Hochul says under Federal Law, they must prove the person knew the drug was being sold for human consumption.
The tougher penalties include a $500 fine and 15 day jail sentence for those caught using or selling synthetic drugs.
Governor Cuomo says the danger of these drugs is clear, "Bath salts and other synthetic drugs pose a direct, serious threat to public health and safety, and we must do everything we can to remove these harmful substances from sale and distribution in New York.”
Local law enforcement officials applauded the new regulations. Many were attending a summit at Saint John Fisher College, where the dangers of these synthetic drugs was a hot topic.
That summit was sponsored by U.S. Attorney William Hochul. Hochul tells us this is a "lucrative" drug trade and he admits, even with tougher state laws, it is hard
to stop the use and sale of these drugs altogether.
Police call bath salts and synthetic marijuana, the new "it" drugs. They say these drugs pose a danger both to those using them and to officers responding to calls where people have ingested bath salts.