ILLINOIS (WCIA)–Lawmakers are trying to pump the breaks on the deadly spread of synthetic marijuana across Illinois. There proposing a bill to broaden the definition of synthetic drugs and it’s gaining momentum, many are hoping it can fix the problem.
According to the Illinois Department of Public health since March, four people died and more than 150 were hospitalized after ingesting chemicals found in synthetic cannabinoids, also known as k2 or spice.
Lawmakers say the state’s behind when it comes to regulations.
Legislation that passed the Senate this week specifically defines what chemicals are outlawed. Law enforcement say drug manufacturers often dodge rules by changing the chemical makeup, giving them a chance to still sell dangerous synthetic drugs legally.
This law will try to get ahead of drug makers by casting a wider net. Law enforcement say their advice is just don’t try it.
“It’s not regulated so there’s no way to know what chemicals are in it.” says Sangamon County Sheriff Sgt. Wesley Wooden. “These are made in big high volume batches so obviously some parts of the batches may be more potent than others, so obviously that could set yourself up for overdosing. People can die from this.”
He says in the last few years. Sangamon County has seen an uptick in synthetic drug cases.
The Illinois Sheriffs Association, Illinois Chiefs of Police, Illinois State Police and IDPH haven’t taken an official stance on the bill. But the Director of the Illinois Sheriffs Association says, “It can’t hurt.”
Penalties will remain the same. Anyone caught making synthetic pot will face a count 3 felony.
The legislation now heads to the House for a final vote.