There was a big celebration in the Governor's office as he signed one of 16 bills into law Friday. It comes after more than two years of fighting for tougher laws surrounding synthetic drugs.
Jan and Mike Rozga were among those who attended. In 2010, their son David smoked synthetic marijuana and then shot himself. The Rozga's say finally, something good has come out of their tragedy.
The new law makes more of the compounds used to create synthetic drugs illegal.
Supporters call it one of the most aggressive laws of its kind.
“By signing this bill the state is taking a proactive approach to tackling this elusive synthetic drug problem. Effective immediately, Iowa`s new synthetic drug control law greatly improves protections for all Iowans,” said Governor Terry Branstad.
However, enforcing the new law may be a little tricky. There will be no staff added to the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy. The Division of Criminal Investigation crime lab is already backed up for weeks.
Right now there are 771 cases involving synthetic drugs waiting to be processed. The average wait time for a test is six weeks. DCI lab technicians expect the new law will result in even more cases.
Before, prosecutors were hesitant to file charges since the manufacturers were constantly coming up with new compounds to put in the drugs. The head of the crime lab says the new law includes*all chemical compounds that currently exist.
“I think the new law will be very effective and helpful to prosecute the cases. I think initially we`ll see more cases coming in law enforcement will have a better opportunity to send them in to us and have a better opportunity in court to prosecute the cases,” says Bruce Reeves.
The penalty for delivering synthetic drugs is an aggravated misdemeanor. The penalty for possession is a serious misdemeanor.