The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, March 16, 2016 1:14 pm

State wants high court to reinstate drug ban

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS – Two rulings striking down part of Indiana’s ban on synthetic drugs have been appealed to the state Supreme Court, the Indiana attorney general’s office said Monday.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a portion of the state’s synthetic drug ban was unconstitutional because its definition of which substances are illegal is too hard to find in some cases. The appeals court made the ruling in similar decisions in two cases Jan. 27.

The statute that took effect in 2012 bans more than 80 chemical compounds and their look-alikes, plus any substance declared a synthetic drug by the Indiana Board of Pharmacy. The Court of Appeals struck down the Board of Pharmacy portion of the prohibition. The attorney general’s office appealed those rulings to the Indiana Supreme Court late last week.

“The statute is designed to be flexible and allow the Board of Pharmacy to update the banned synthetics list because the man-made nature of these drugs allows manufacturers to come up with endless new versions of these deadly products,” Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a news release.

In part, the appeal challenges the lower court’s finding that requiring someone to search through multiple statutes and the State Administrative Code to find all of the banned substances violates the due process required for penal statutes.

But Mark Rutherford, the lead attorney representing both defendants in the two cases, said the law is cumbersome. Lawyers might be able to understand the law, but “most people aren’t lawyers,” he said.

“If the Supreme Court does take the case, then we’ll re-argue the case,” Rutherford said.

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