Lawmakers try to solve synthetic drug puzzle


Members of the Minnesota state legislature spent Wednesday trying to figure out the next step in crafting a new law to fight the growth of synthetic drugs.

Several House committees met to try to come up with a way to address the problem that medical and law enforcement officials say is rapidly getting worse. Officials say the problem has grown to all areas of the state, cities and rural areas alike.

A report by the Associated Press, says an emergency room doctor at North Memorial Medical Center estimates the ER is treating one to two patients a week who have used synthetics to get high.

Doctors compare the effects of synthetic marijuana to more like the effects of LSD and other hallucinogens than to traditional marijuana.

A Minnesota Public Radio report this week, says that synthetic drugs are difficult to outlaw because sellers change the chemical composition of the drugs. DFL Rep. Michael Paymar, the chair of the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee says that he doesn't know that just trying to put copycat legislation together is going to be effective nor constitutional.

Lawmakers are also considering new prevention and education programs on the dangers of synthetic drugs as well.

The issue came to the forefront of the news again this week when the owner of a Duluth head shop, Jim Carlson, was convicted on 51 of 55 counts of selling synthetic drugs.

Next Up

Megan Ryan

Star Tribune's Megan Ryan named new Twins beat reporter

Ryan replaces LaVelle E. Neal who is now in a columnist role.

minnetonka MME

Minnetonka in spotlight after teacher threatened for discussing Black trans woman

Parents and community members are calling on the district to do better and will hold a march prior to the school board meeting on Thursday.

Richard Pitino

Talk grows that this season will be Pitino's last at Gophers

A report says Pitino's tenure could be "down to his final games."

Screen Shot 2021-03-02 at 1.40.17 PM

Two gas trucks collide in Stearns County, neither explodes

The unlikely collision happened Monday afternoon.

unnamed (1)

MSP Airport expecting spring break to be busiest period since pandemic began

Passenger numbers will still be about a third lower than a year ago, though.

Target store

After bumper earnings, Target will accelerate new store openings

The retailer has revealed its plans for the next few years, which includes an investment in Minneapolis.

starbucks wayzata

100% plant-based restaurant coming to Wayzata this spring

The restaurant has plans to add additional locations in Minnesota this summer and franchise nationwide.

Patric Richardson

'Laundry Evangelist' from St. Paul gets his own Discovery+ show

Patric Richardson has built a career around the appreciation and care of clothing.

All Energy Solar Residential Installation

End 'renting' from your utility company and go solar

A solar installation is one of the few home improvements that actually pays for itself.


Lawmakers consider stiffer penalties for sales of some synthetic drugs

A bill headed for the House floor would up the charges for selling certain synthetic drugs from a gross misdemeanor to a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

House approves tougher penalties on synthetic drugs

An overwhelming majority of Representatives voted on Wednesday to outlaw 250 more chemicals, slap more severe penalties on sellers and make it possible for authorities to quickly add new drugs to the list of banned substances.