Senators look to tighten synthetic drug laws - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Senators look to tighten synthetic drug laws

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By: Bill Schammert

Nebraska senators are looking to strengthen laws on synthetic drugs, hopefully saving lives in the process.

This year's legislation to try and tighten the state's laws against synthetic marijuana hit the judiciary committee on Wednesday. Steve Tucker testified with his son's ashes in hand.

"This could be your children, your grandchildren," he said. "Something has to be done, it has to be done now."

Tucker's son died in October from a synthetic marijuana overdose; consuming too much of a substance called "Scooby Snax."

The new legislation looks to expand the definition of K-2 to include "Scooby Snax," and other similar products that market themselves as potpourri by adding more chemical compounds to the law already in place.

"Adding the one class and modifying the other class would help us catch up with other drugs like that," forensic chemist, Christine Gabig, testified.

But, not everyone was on board.

The bill would increase the penalty for possession of synthetic marijuana from an infraction, to a Class-4 felony. Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers is worried it could crowd an already overcrowded prison system.

"It is a hoax and a sham," he said. "Giving the impression that this is the methodology by which we address the drug problem confronted by young people in our society."

Assistant Attorney General Corey O'Brien took a different stance.

"Kids are dying from it, becoming seriously ill," he said. "We think the penalty needs to reflect the seriousness and dangerousness of the drug."

Introduced by Ogallala Sen. Ken Schilz, the possession penalty would not only apply to individuals, but businesses as well.

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