Gov. Bobby Jindal last week signed another measure to crack down on "incense" and "bath salts" — synthetic marijuana and cocaine formerly sold at convenience stores and head shops. In August 2010, Jindal signed a ban on the incense (also known as mojo or spice, which contains THC-mimicking chemicals).
In January, Jindal signed an emergency measure to rid store shelves of the bath salts by placing them on the Controlled Dangerous Substances list, making it illegal to possess, manufacture or sell them. The latest measure permanently adds the faux drugs, including "incense," to the list — joining Schedule I drugs such as heroin, pot and ecstasy, among others. (Schedule II drugs include cocaine, amphetamines and oxycodone.)
The measure, authored by Rep. Ricky Templet, R-Gretna, bans the drugs and criminalizes the chemical makeup and specific chemical compounds that compose the drugs — in an attempt to prevent future copycats.
According to the governor's office, Louisiana Poison Control handled nearly 200 calls from September 2010 to January 2011 regarding bath salts — calls in December accounted for 61 percent of the calls received nationally. Nationwide, bath salts have been responsible for at least 12 deaths, and more than 4,000 intoxication cases have been documented.
Templet's anti-drug campaign won over legislators in 2010, when his mojo-killing HB 173 passed handily. Sens. Francis Thompson, D-Delhi, and Nick Gautreaux, D-Meaux, introduced similar measures. Several states have since banned the drugs, including Gulf neighbors Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, as well as Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee.
In a statement, Jindal said, "To all the drug dealers and criminals working in drug labs, we want the message to go out loud and clear — we will fight you every step of the way to protect our communities and keep these deadly drugs out of our stores and off of our streets. You will not sell your drugs here in Louisiana." — Alex Woodward