Methamphetamine: Senators Feinstein and Grassley Introduce Bill to Heighten Penalties for Meth Dealers Who Flavor Their Product

Responding to a handful of reports from across the country about the appearance of "Strawberry Quick" methamphetamine, or meth flavored with sweeteners, Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) have introduced legislation that would increase penalties for persons convicted of selling flavored meth. Following the lead of law enforcement and drug treatment spokesmen, the senators are portraying the flavored meth as a marketing tool aimed at kids and their bill as a response to the perceived threat.

That is evident from the title of the bill, S 1211, or the "Saving Kids from Dangerous Drugs Act." The bill would (purportedly) save kids from dangerous drugs by applying the current penalty enhancement for selling meth to minors (doubles the sentence, with a one-year mandatory minimum) to anyone who "manufactures, creates, distributes, or possesses with intent to distribute a controlled substance that is flavored, colored, packaged or otherwise altered in a way that is designed to make it more appealing to a person under 21 years of age, or who attempts or conspires to do so."

"This bill will send a strong and clear message to drug dealers -- if you target our children by peddling candy-flavored drugs, there will be a heavy price to pay," Senator Feinstein said in a statement announcing the legislation. "Flavored meth -- with child-friendly names like Strawberry Quick -- is designed to get people to try it a few times. It's all about hooking young people, and we have to stop this practice before it grows any further. So, this legislation will increase the criminal penalties for anyone who markets candy-flavored drugs to our youth -- by imposing on them the same enhanced penalties applied to dealers who distribute drugs to minors."

"New techniques and gimmicks to lure our kids into addiction are around every corner. Candy flavored meth is the latest craze used by drug dealers," Senator Grassley said. "Research has shown time and again that if you can keep a child drug-free until they turn 20, chances are very slim that they will ever try or become addicted. This makes it all the more important that we put an end to the practice of purposely altering illegal drugs to make them more appealing to young people."

But the bill has several problems. While ostensibly aimed at meth makers and sellers, it applies to any controlled substance, including marijuana. There is also little evidence of the threat the bill supposedly addresses. While law enforcement and drug treatment people can claim that flavored meth is aimed at kids, there is no smoking gun in the form of a meth marketing manual or anything like that.

But the most serious problem with the bill is the subjective nature of its language. What exactly is a controlled substance that is "flavored, colored, packaged, or otherwise altered in a way that is designed to make it more appealing" to kids? If it is flavored, does that mean it is aimed at kids? If ecstasy tablets are marked with a smiley face or cartoon character, does that mean they are aimed at kids? What if the dealer is selling flavored drugs to adults? Hopefully this bill will die and these questions will not have to be answered.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Naturally, Feinstein is a sponsor

As one of her unfortunate constituents, I can't say I'm surprised that Dianne Feinstein would sponsor such a ridiculous act. While sillier than most of the things she's done, it's not that much sillier. How she keeps being re-elected, I just don't understand...

martin holsinger's picture

"flavored meth"

it's not just about meth and herb brownies--would they prosecute the makers of chocolate covered mushrooms with this? Let's hope it dies in committee....
martin holsinger

meth

kids make their choices on what knowledge they took in from their parents and their peers (enviroment-it starts with shitty parents); there for if they know about the dangers and the realities of this empidemic, methamphetamine, than they will not be trying these flavored substances. educating is key. parents try to hide to much from their children. and children are doing younger and younger anyways so maybe we are not approching this correctly...
that does not mean we need to punish people more for changing the color of the product, after all it is the same potentcy right? especially when our nation is working toward legalizing marijuana, we are just going to turn around and make another law against them that does not make sence.
im totally against meth but does pink meth necessarily mean little kids. older people have taste too.....

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