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Indiana Supreme Court Upholds Synthetic Drug Law

Synthetic drugs encompass a variety of substances, including "spice" and "bath salts." Some Indiana legislators are proposing harsher penalties for synthetic drug offenses.

The Indiana Supreme Court Wednesday upheld the constitutionality of the state’s synthetic drug law.

Indiana’s synthetic drug law bars the sale of certain compounds and look-alikes, while allowing the pharmacy board to add new compounds to the list of banned substances.

Two of the first people convicted under the law challenged the statute, claiming it was too vague to be constitutional.

They also argued the General Assembly couldn’t delegate that much authority to an administrative agency, and the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed.

But the Supreme Court went the other way.

In two unanimous decisions, the Court said that ignorance of the law was no defense, and the legislature could allow the pharmacy board to make rules that carried criminal penalties.

In a statement, Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, who authored the law, praised the Court’s ruling, saying it will help stop the spread of the harmful drugs.

In its decision, the Supreme Court did drop the charges against the two men, but for a technical reason that doesn’t impact the overall law.

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