LANSING – State Representative John Kivela (D-Marquette) today thanked his colleagues in both the Senate and House for sending a bipartisan package of bills to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk that would further aid in the efforts to combat meth addiction in Michigan. The bills address the problem of people who attempt to solicit someone else to purchase ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which are used in the production of methamphetmine. Kivela’s bill is House Bill 4864. The Senate bills are Senate Bills 409 and 410, sponsored by state Senators Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage) and Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), respectively.
“We have meth production laws on the books, and these new laws will tweak them to give prosecutors more flexibility in sentencing those who may be first-time offenders,” said Kivela. “Without being easy on those who break the law, we can still give first-time offenders a chance to turn their lives around.”
The current laws made organized group purchasing of products that contain pseudoephedrine (PSE), the chemical needed to manufacture methamphetamine, a felony with a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Group purchasing of PSE has come to be known as “smurfing.” These new bills target those that make an attempt to solicit someone to buy the drugs and make that crime a misdemeanor.
Kivela’s bill would establish a five-year stop-sale alert for a person convicted of attempting to solicit another to purchase. The other bills create penalties for attempting to solicit purchasers of PSE of not more than one year in prison, or a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.
“Representative Kivela has been a great partner in this effort and I thank him for his leadership in getting these bills passed,” said State Senator Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage.)
Methamphetamine production has increased in recent years across the Upper Peninsula and throughout many other Michigan communities. People typically run meth labs to make the drug in their homes and, sometimes, even in the trunks of their cars.
“Meth addiction can tear apart families and our communities, and while we need strong laws, we also need to figure out a way to help those who want to turn their lives around,” said Kivela. “These bills create serious penalties, but also recognize that a felony charge is too much for some offenders because of its severity and implications. I thank my colleagues for approving these bills.”