Massachusetts Legislature Moving to Ban Synthetic Drug “Bath Salts” as Usage is on the Rise

Bath-Salts-Lines-300x224.jpgAccording to an article in the Brockton Enterprise, Senator John Keenan from Quincy has authored legislation that would ban “bath salts” in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Senate agreed upon the bill yesterday. If enacted, the law would make it illegal for stores to sell what is now an over-the-counter substance sold for purportedly lawful purposes. Bath salts contain methylenedixoypyrovalerone, a stimulant that has an effect on the central nervous system. At this time this substance is not illegal to sell or buy, at least in Massachusetts and it is available in convenience stores and smoke shops. It can also be ordered online. The federal government is in the process of making this product illegal nationally.

So what exactly does this drug do to you? According to Web MD bath salts cause “agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain and suicidalilty”. The drug is a stimulant, much like methamphetamine or cocaine. There is one significant difference. Bath salts produce the side effect of hallucinations. This drug is also associated with hypertension, increased heart rate, aggressive behavior and at times extreme violence. There is a split of authority as to whether this substance is addictive. Authorities have warned that abusing bath salts can result in permanent brain damage. It is universally agreed that taking this substance is dangerous, toxic and potentially lethal. There is no medicinal value associated with bath salts. This is a very dangerous drug. Using it is not only dangerous to the user but it can lead to the commission of crimes.

Right now in Massachusetts Criminal Lawyers are waiting for this law to pass and to determine the effects possessing and distributing bath salts will have on the accused. Will there be a minimum mandatory sentence associated with its use or sale? How will the state law compare to the inevitable federal law that will ultimately pass? How will Massachusetts bath salt laws be viewed relative to similar laws already having passed in other states? Perhaps most interesting is just how will use of this drug effect defenses in Massachusetts Criminal Cases? Right now there is a case being tried in Pennsylvania wherein a woman was charged with Theft Crimes she claims were the result of bath salt intoxication. The woman and her boyfriend are alleged to have stolen electronic equipment and jewelry at a home they broke into. The couple was charged with Receiving Stolen Property and Larceny. In Massachusetts a Criminal Lawyer might defend on the theory that the drug intoxication prevented the defendant from forming the requisite criminal intent needed to sustain a conviction. It is important that once this law passes anyone in Massachusetts who gets charged with a “bath salt” relate crime immediately contact a lawyer who is experience in defending drug cases of all types in Massachusetts. The law, as with any law, might be subject to a constitutional challenge, particularly where the substance is one that is not currently criminalized in this state.

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