Relates to defining the term synthetic cannabinoid.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law and the penal law, in relation to synthetic cannabinoids
PURPOSE: To prohibit the sale and distribution of chemical compounds that mimic the effects of marijuana by adding it to the control substance list. It would also amend the penal law to include synthetic cannabinoids or synthetic cannabinoid analog in the definition of marijuana.
SUMMARY: Section 1 of the bill adds two new subdivisions, to section 3302 of the Public Health Law.
Subdivision 41 - Defines synthetic cannabinoids as a chemical compound that is chemically synthesized. Synthetic cannabinoids are chemicals that have a binding effect on one or more cannabinoid receptors, or are a chemical isomer, salt or salt of an isomer of a compound that has demonstrated to have a binding activity at one or more cannabinoid receptors.
Subdivision 42 - Synthetic cannabinoid analog is defined as any chemical that is substantially similar in chemical structure to a chemical compound that has been determined to have binding activity at one or more cannabinoid receptors. This definition would not apply to any products that have been approved for medical use by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Section 2 of the bill amends Subdivision 6 of section 220.00 of the Penal Law by adding to the definition of marijuana to include synthetic cannabinoid or synthetic cannabinoid analog.
Section 3 sets forth the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Synthetic drugs, those that mimic the effects of banned drugs have increasing become a public safety concern throughout the country. To circumvent state and federal drug laws, the manufacturers of these synthetic drugs market their products under the guise of being a commonly used product, such as bath salts or incense. As a result, a person can purchase these items at a local convenience store, smoke shop or on the internet.
In 2011, New York State banned the sale and distribution of any product containing 4 Methylmethcathinone, also known as Methlenedioxyprovalerone. Before the ban, products claiming to be bath salts contained the drug listed above. When smoked or snorted, these bath salts produced a reaction similar to what cocaine produces. News reports and the medical community reported that the users of these products were having strong
psychotic effects as a result of ingesting or smoking the drug, including extreme paranoia, hallucinations, hypertension and suicidal thoughts.
The problems associated with synthetic marijuana are very similar to the public safety and medical problems that are associated with abusing bath salts. Convenience stores, smoke shops, and other stores are able to sell products like Spice, Happy Shaman, K2 and other products legally. The side effects of these products mirror the adverse effects of bath salts.
Addressing this issue, as we did with bath salts has proven to be a more difficult task. Synthetic cannabinoids was developed by former Clemson Professor of organic chemistry, John William Huffman. Funded through the National Institute of Health, Professor Huffman and his team researched and began developing cannabinoid compounds to aid in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, AIDS and chemotherapy. His research developed over 450 synthetic cannabinoid compounds - all which mimicked the after effect of how "cannabinoid receptors" react when smoking or ingesting marijuana. His formula was published in the Journal of Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry and it didn't take long for underground chemists began creating their own compounds for sale.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has recently banned the manufacture, distribution, dispensing of several of Huffman's compounds, JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, however, as mentioned above, Huffman and his team created over 400 compounds. Although it is positive that the DEA has made the steps to ban these compounds, manufacturers are circumventing the law by switching and using different variations of the compounds when producing their product. To give an example of how this ban is easily circumvented, one manufacturer and distributor of incense states on its website that it is DEA compliant.
Further, this has become a problem for states because banning an item or putting it on the controlled substance list requires knowing the chemical compound of such item. With nearly 400 compounds or more in existence, this has created challenges for many states, including New York. Because of this, states, such as Colorado, have looked at banning those chemical compounds that produce the same effect on a person's cannabinoid receptors. As stated earlier, it would not ban those products or chemical compounds that were approved for medical use under the United States Food and Drug Administration. The Governor of Colorado signed this legislation into law on June 2, 2011.
This legislation follows the path taken in Colorado by banning those products that produce the same effect on a person's cannabinoid receptors, defines synthetic cannabinoid as a controlled substance product, excludes those chemical compounds approved by the FDA and would add synthetic cannabinoids to the definition of marijuana in the Penal Law. This is a comprehensive and proactive approach to addressing this issue rather than waiting to discover a new chemical compound after it reaches the public.
HISTORY: New Bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6717 IN SENATE March 13, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. RITCHIE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Health AN ACT to amend the public health law and the penal law, in relation to synthetic cannabinoids THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 3302 of the public health law is amended by adding two new subdivisions 41 and 42 to read as follows: 41. "SYNTHETIC CANNABINOID" MEANS ANY CHEMICAL COMPOUND THAT IS CHEMI- CALLY SYNTHESIZED AND: (A) HAS BEEN DEMONSTRATED TO HAVE A BINDING ACTIVITY AT ONE OR MORE CANNABINOID RECEPTORS; OR (B) IS A CHEMICAL ISOMER, SALT OR SALT OF AN ISOMER OF A COMPOUND THAT HAS BEEN DEMONSTRATED TO HAVE BINDING ACTIVITY AT ONE OR MORE CANNABI- NOID RECEPTORS. "SYNTHETIC CANNABINOID" DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY PRODUCTS THAT HAVE BEEN APPROVED FOR MEDICAL USE BY THE UNITED STATES FOOD AND DRUG ADMINIS- TRATION. 42. "SYNTHETIC CANNABINOID ANALOG" MEANS ANY CHEMICAL THAT IS SUBSTAN- TIALLY SIMILAR IN CHEMICAL STRUCTURE TO A CHEMICAL COMPOUND THAT HAS BEEN DETERMINED TO HAVE BINDING ACTIVITY AT ONE OR MORE CANNABINOID RECEPTORS. IT DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY PRODUCTS THAT HAVE BEEN APPROVED FOR MEDICAL USE BY THE UNITED STATES FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. S 2. Subdivision 6 of section 220.00 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 1051 of the laws of 1973, is amended to read as follows: 6. "Marihuana" means "marihuana"
[or], "concentrated cannabis", "SYNTHETIC CANNABINOID" OR "SYNTHETIC CANNABINOID ANALOG" as those terms are defined in section thirty-three hundred two of the public health law. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13658-01-1