The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has unanimously approved legislation that would ban three powerful and increasingly popular hallucinogenic drugs.
An amended House Bill 356 would make it illegal to possess or sell synthetic marijuana, salvia divinorum, and several chemical compounds used to manufacture the synthetic stimulants known as "bath salts."
Synthetic marijuana, also known as K2, Demon and Spice, is a blend of herbs treated with chemicals to produce a marijuana-like high, while salvia divinorum - or seer's sage - is a plant said to produce hallucinations and visions similar to LSD. Bath salts, also known as Blizzard, are said to produce a high similar to that of cocaine or methamphetamine.
The synthetic drugs are commonly sold online and in tobacco shops, but law enforcement officials across the state have been reporting an increase in violent episodes and illnesses attributed to their use.
Rep. Jerry Stern (R-Blair) stressed that a ban on chemicals used to make bath salts would prevent the use of a dangerous narcotic, not the use of household bath additives.
"Keep in mind that the type of bath salts the average consumer purchases from mass market retailers, such as Walmart or Target, do not contain these dangerous chemicals and would continue to be available to purchase," Stern said. "It is the concentrated bath salts from small specialty stores that the legislation seeks to address."
The legislation now goes to the Senate for consideration.