A bill introduced in the Indiana General Assembly, House Bill 1626, would criminalize the possession of otherwise legal substances in certain circumstances as part of an effort to crackdown on so-called methamphetamine precursors. The bill as written would "establish a rebuttable presumption" that a person in possession of 24 grams of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine or phenylpropanolamine, or unspecified quantities of such items as hydrogen peroxide, paint thinner and lithium batteries, is engaged in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Under current Indiana law, it is already a crime to possess any two listed precursors.

Under the bill, a person who purchased 18 boxes of Sudafed Maximum Strength Sinus and Allergy pills would be guilty of a crime. The bill also would make it a crime for store clerks to sell any of the listed substances if they knew they were to be used for cooking speed. And it would add an additional five-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of a child.

The bill's provisions have drawn the ire of at least one Indiana newspaper, the Richmond Palladium-Item, which called editorially last week for the bill to be amended. "Police should not have the authority to arrest or search a person just because he possesses a few gallons of paint thinner or several lithium batteries," wrote the Palladium-Item. "It'd be like arresting a person for possessing

A bill introduced in the Indiana General Assembly, House Bill 1626, would criminalize the possession of otherwise legal substances in certain circumstances as part of an effort to crackdown on so-called methamphetamine precursors. The bill as written would "establish a rebuttable presumption" that a person in possession of 24 grams of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine or phenylpropanolamine, or unspecified quantities of such items as hydrogen peroxide, paint thinner and lithium batteries, is engaged in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Under current Indiana law, it is already a crime to possess any two listed precursors.

Under the bill, a person who purchased 18 boxes of Sudafed Maximum Strength Sinus and Allergy pills would be guilty of a crime. The bill also would make it a crime for store clerks to sell any of the listed substances if they knew they were to be used for cooking speed. And it would add an additional five-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of a child.

The bill's provisions have drawn the ire of at least one Indiana newspaper, the Richmond Palladium-Item, which called editorially last week for the bill to be amended. "Police should not have the authority to arrest or search a person just because he possesses a few gallons of paint thinner or several lithium batteries," wrote the Palladium-Item. "It'd be like arresting a person for possessing a can of spray paint on the assumption that he plans to inhale fumes to get high." The paper was also leery of the provisions on sales of alleged precursors. "It could put store clerks in the position of feeling they need to report anyone who purchases strange amounts of the legal substances, so they won't be accused of being co-conspirators."

Cosponsored by two Democrats, Rep. Ed Mahern (Indianapolis) and Rep. Allan Chowning (Sullivan), the bill is under consideration by the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code. To read the bill online, visit:
http://www.in.gov/serv/lsa_billinfo?year=2003&session=1&request=getBill&docno=1626

-- END --
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Issue #281, 4/4/03 Week Online Fundraising Update | Editorial: Reasonable Doubt Routinely | Victory in Tulia! | Rosenthal Asks for New Trial, Cites Juror Violations | Drug Czar Gives Up on Drugs and Terror Ad Campaign, Also Cancels Studies to Track Ads' Effectiveness | Drug Czar Sends Flunkies to Try to Stop Columbia, Missouri, Marijuana Initiative | DRCNet Interview: Marco Cappato, Member of European Parliament | Newsbrief: Reform Rumblings Begin in Brazil, While Commands Create Chaos | Newsbrief: Post-Assassination Serbian Crackdown Creates Drug Panic | Newsbrief: Jamaican Official Promises Ganja Decrim Bill Soon | Newsbrief: Belgian Marijuana Decriminalization Passes Final Hurdle | Newsbrief: Midwest Meth Madness -- Indiana | Newsbrief: Midwest Meth Madness -- Iowa and Illinois | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Web Scan: New HR95, JAPHA on Syringe Sales, Reason, Mama Coca, OAS | Clinical Cannabis Conference CDs Available | Job Listings: Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts and Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless | The Reformer's Calendar
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