(STATEHOUSE) - After two years of trying to stop the manufacturers of synthetic drugs such as "bath salts," legislators are targeting retailers instead.
A Senate committee has approved a bill to suspend merchants' retail licenses for one year if they're caught selling the drugs.
Legislators have banned an array of chemical compounds used in the drugs, only to find that manufacturers quickly tweak the formulas so their drugs aren't covered.
The bill drafted by State Police and Attorney General Greg Zoeller shifts the approach to retailers. Senator Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis), the bill's sponsor, says no retailer seriously believes drugs labeled "potpourri" or "bath salts" are really being used for any legitimate purpose.
The bill would also codify a legal approach Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry has taken in charging retailers with violating Indiana's lookalike drug law -- the law that allows charges against dealers who try to pass off flour as cocaine.
The committee voted 6-3 to send the bill to the Senate floor. Bloomington Democrat Mark Stoops voted no -- he says the law would essentially put retailers out of business for a criminal violation at the level of a traffic ticket.
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