Recent editorials: Flexibility allows state to prohibit synthetic pot

By The Associated Press

Daily Journal, Franklin. Nov. 24, 2014.

Flexibility allows state to prohibit synthetic pot

For the seventh time in two years, the Indiana Board of Pharmacy used its emergency rule-making powers to place bans on chemical compounds used to make synthetic marijuana, also known as "spice" and "K2."

The board announced this month it pushed emergency rules through, banning three different types of compounds. The rules will go into effect next month.

The board was given the authority to create emergency rules by the General Assembly in 2012, particularly considering the dangerous nature of spice.

"These synthetic drugs are very dangerous, and we are committed to doing our part in combating the manufacturers ... and the retailers selling these products to the public," Indiana Professional Licensing Agency Executive Director Nicholas Rhoad said in a news release.

The proof of that danger is in the hospital room.

In April, four Columbus students were taken to the emergency room after smoking spice.

And in 2012, several students overdosed on spice in one day. And more than 200 were sickened by synthetic pot in Colorado last year.

Unlike other illegal substances, synthetic drugs such as spice are hard to outlaw legislatively because of the adaptive nature of the compounds used in the drugs.

"Rogue chemists constantly change the chemical formulas of these dangerous synthetic drugs in an effort to stay ahead of lawmakers," board spokesman Nick Goodwin said.

The new rules will be in place through the 2015 Indiana legislative session, meaning lawmakers will be able to enact the rules into state statute.

The pharmacy board's action shows that the law enacted by the General Assembly is working. Battling the ever-morphing forms of these insidious compounds requires decisive, quick action. It cannot be beaten simply with annual changes in legislation.

Lawmakers gave appropriate power to the Indiana Board of Pharmacy, and already that decision is paying off.
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