The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control moved to ban the chemicals used to make bath salts and synthetic marijuana Monday after months of discussion and debate.
The DEA banned the chemicals used to make the synthetic drugs on Friday, allowing DHEC to reschedule the drugs as well.
“State law authorizes the DHEC Board to designate a substance as a controlled substance in this state if the federal government has issued the same designation,” said Carl Roberts, general counsel for DHEC, in a release.
Three substances used to make bath salts, mephedrone, methylone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), were banned. Five substances used to make synthetic marijuana were already banned.
“With the board’s vote today, the state’s designation of these substances mirrors the federal designation,” Roberts said. “This will allow state and local law enforcement officers to deal with the issue, as it is illegal to manufacture, distribute, possess, import or export these substances. These chemicals have been found by the DEA to pose an imminent hazard to public safety and health.”
All of the substances are now considered Schedule 1 drugs, which means they have no accepted medical use and hold a high potential for abuse. According to South Carolina law, anyone who manufactures, distributes or possesses such drugs is guilty of a felony and can be punished with no more than five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for a first offense.
Several municipalities moved to ban bath salts before DHEC's action using emergency bans, but Monday's rescheduling will allow all state and local law enforcement to enforce the law without specific local bans.
DHEC has encouraged business owners who carried bath salts or synthetic marijuana to forfeit their products, no questions asked.