Congress is considering a bill that would expand the federal government’s ability to pursue the war on drugs, granting new power to the Attorney General to set federal drug policy.
The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by powerful committee chairs in both chambers of Congress, would allow the Attorney General to unilaterally outlaw certain unregulated chemical compounds on a temporary basis. It would create a special legal category for these drugs, the first time in nearly 50 years that the CSA has been expanded in this way. And it would set penalties, potentially including mandatory minimum sentences, for the manufacture and distribution of these drugs.
“This bill provides federal law enforcement with new tools to ensure those peddling dangerous drugs, which can be lethal, are brought to justice,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who is sponsoring the Senate version with Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in an emailed statement. “It also explicitly exempts simple possession from any penalties, instead targeting those who manufacture and traffic these drugs and opioids.”
The bill, introduced last week and known as the as the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act of 2017 (SITSA), now moves to a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Grassley chairs and where Feinstein is the top-ranking Democrat. The House bill is listed as H.R. 2851.
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