Governor Perdue Signs Methamphetamine Legislation
|Tuesday, April 19, 2005||
Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774
CHICKAMAUGA, GA – Governor Sonny Perdue today visited the Food Lion Grocery Store in Chickamauga, Georgia to sign House Bill 216. This legislation will help law enforcement combat the manufacture and abuse of methamphetamine by requiring products with pseudoephredine as the sole active ingredient to be sold behind the counter of a retail or pharmacy store. The legislation also establishes reporting procedures for wholesalers and retailers.
“Meth is a serious threat to Georgia families and communities. It is a highly addictive drug that alters the chemistry of the brain and, over time, the personality of those who abuse it,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “This bill represents an important step toward safeguarding Georgia families and protecting our communities from the destructive effects of this dangerous drug.”
The major provisions of HB216 include:
- Requires that products whose sole active ingredient is pseudoephedrine, single entity drugs such as Sudafed, be sold behind the counter of a retail or pharmacy store. This will help prevent theft and tighten the purchase of such over-the-counter medication, with which it is easiest to manufacture methamphetamine.
- Requires licensure of single entity pseudoephedrine wholesalers. Wholesalers who are otherwise licensed to sell controlled substances with the Board of Pharmacy may use their pre-existing license.
- Makes the diversion of pseudoephedrine for the purposes of manufacturing methamphetamine a felony.
- Requires that these products only be sold in blister packaging and clarifies that no more than three of any product containing pseudoephedrine can be sold at one time.
- Requires wholesalers to submit sales transaction and distribution reports if requested by law enforcement and to notify the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency within seven days if an “excessive purchase” occurs.
- Requires retailers to keep copies of wholesalers' licenses for three years from purchase date and to submit receiving records within five days upon request from law enforcement.
Knowingly failing to comply with these requirements or falsifying information is a misdemeanor on the first offense and a misdemeanor of high and aggravated nature on the second offense. If the second offense is done with the knowledge that the product would be used to make illegal substances, it is a felony. The bill also makes it a felony to possess pseudoephedrine with the intent to manufacture controlled substances or to convey substances for the manufacture of pseudoephedrine.
During today's bill signing, Governor Perdue was joined by the bill's sponsor, State Representative Jay Neal, State Senator Jeff Mullis, and GBI Director Vernon Keenan.
In August 2004, Governor Perdue helped bring statewide attention to the rising problem of manufacturing and abusing methamphetamine with the Methamphetamine and Georgia: Seeking Solutions summit. In January of this year, Governor Perdue was presented with the summit's 25 recommendations divided into five categories – public awareness, clandestine lab response, pre-cursor chemicals, drug endangered children, and statewide coordination, training, best practices, and protocols. Two of the recommendations are included in HB216 – restricting over-the-counter access to single entity medications and reporting procedures for wholesalers and retailers.
In 2003, Governor Perdue proposed and signed into law legislation that strengthened criminal penalties for the manufacture, transfer and possession of methamphetamine and criminalized the transport of materials used in its illegal production. Last year, Governor Perdue, as part of his Child Protection Legislation, proposed and signed into law stiffer penalties for manufacturing or possessing methamphetamine or a chemical substance intended to be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine in the presence of a child.
HB216 preempts all local ordinances, but allows a later effective date of January 1, 2006 for the two counties which had such ordinances before December 31, 2004 (Unincorporated Floyd County and Douglas County).