Proposed legislation to outlaw the possession or sale of a synthetic stimulant known as bath salts is headed to Gov. Tom Corbett's desk to be signed into law.
The state Senate gave the measure its final approval late Wednesday. The state House of representatives on Monday gave the proposed legislation, which also bans synthetic marijuana and synthetic cocaine or heroin, its stamp of approval.
the legislation, Senate Bill 1006, was proposed by Sen. Elder Vogel, a Republican whose legislative district includes Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties. It has had bi-partisan support.
"The first offense for possession with the intent to deliver or delivery would result in five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Simple possession of these substances would be a misdemeanor and give them a $5,000 fine and a maximum of one year in prison. On second and subsequent violations, the maximum fine and penalty doubles," Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Lower Paxton), majority chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has said.
State Sen. David G. Argall (R-29), the bill's co-sponsor, said that the "Senate and House worked together to pass this much-needed legislation. This bill, which I was proud to co-sponsor, will hopefully put an end to the devastating headlines and heartbreak numerous families have suffered due to these synthetic drugs."
Bath salts the name given the chemical combination in order to market it while skirting drug laws have been linked to a growing number of cases of violent and bizarre behavior, including the incident in March when John Eremus, 46, of Nesquehoning, held police at bay for two hours with a high-powered rifle after ingesting the substance.
The ersatz bath salts contain 3,4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or MDPV, and mephedrone, chemicals that mimic the effect of illegal stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine. they cause skyrocketing blood pressure, heart palpitations, hallucinations and extreme paranoia.