Senator Cannella's Bill to Help Fight Methamphetamine Production Heard in Senate Public Safety Committee

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Reflective of his commitment to public safety, State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) today presented Senate Bill 260 before the Senate Public Safety Committee. The measure targets methamphetamine producers by making it a felony to possess more than a half pound of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, the primary ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamine.
“The production and abuse of methamphetamine is one of the greatest threats to our state. As part of government’s responsibility to keep Californians safe, we must do everything in our power to support the law enforcement agents fighting the proliferation of this dangerous drug,” said Cannella. “There is no reason a person would have half a pound of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine except to manufacture meth. By making it a felony to possess excessive amounts of these drugs, my bill would support drug enforcement agents in their ongoing efforts to stop the proliferation of meth in our communities.”
Since 2006, pharmacies are only permitted to sell 3.6 grams of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine to a single customer per day and 9 grams to a single customer per month. However, methamphetamine producers have developed ways to get around these restrictions by “smurfing:” going from store to store, paying other people to purchase ephedrine or pseudoephedrine for them.
Further complicating things, an individual in possession of a large quantity of either drug can only be found guilty of a felony if law enforcement agents can prove intent to manufacture methamphetamine. However, a half-pound of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine – the equivalent of more than 7,500 tablets or gel tabs – is a quantity far too large to serve any individual medical purpose; thus, the fact that a person would have such a massive amount of either of these drugs signals an ulterior motive beyond the substances’ intended use.
SB 260 would address this issue by making possession of a half-pound of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine a strict liability felony punishable by up to six years in a state prison. The measure would not apply to licensed drug manufacturers or other individuals and entities authorized by law or regulation to possess either of these drugs.
The Senate Public Safety Committee held the measure, preventing it from coming to a vote this morning.