New drug laws signed over the weekend

By Jim McCabe on August 19 at 8:25am

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Getting caught manufacturing methamphetamine could prove to be a bit costlier in West Central Illinois.

Governor Pat Quinn signed three drug-related pieces of legislation Saturday that take effect January 1st. Meth-makers who do their dirty business within 1,000 feet of any school property will now be charged with a Class X felony punishable by a minimum of six years in prison and a maximum of 30 years.

It was previously considered a Class 1 felony.

Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens hopes the upgrade will further deter people from making the drug.

“If it doesn’t deter it, it’ll keep them in jail longer. There’s a certain number of people that, regardless of how long you keep them in jail, they’re going to get out and get right back into something that’s illegal. That’s a given fact,” he says.

“The recidivism rate amongst methamphetamine users and manufacturers is pretty high, I hate to say it. But, it is. But, the fact is, if you manufacture methamphetamine within a thousand feet of a school, you’re going to go to jail for some time, and that’s the message you need to get out.”

Another new law adds synthetic drugs known as 25-I, 25-C and 25-B to the list of controlled substances that are illegal to manufacture, deliver or possess with the intent to distribute. The drugs have been available online and can be especially dangerous for high school students, according to Grootens.

“The way they’re getting around the scheduling is, all they have to do is change one little structure in the manufacturing process of it and it no longer falls within one of the scheduling that the feds have enacted. So, if they change one molecule in the process, then all of a sudden it’s not scheduled,” explains Grootens.

“So, the feds have the ability to do emergency scheduling of these types of synthetic drugs, and the state is just following suit with that, which is good because it helps us fight the synthetic drug front.”

The third law makes it illegal for anyone under 18 to purchase or posses any product that contains the herbal drug Kratom. It also makes it illegal to provide the drug to a minor. Kratom can mimic the effects of heroin.