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February 16, 2012 05:15 PM

Police Would Enforce Synthetic Pot Law Right Away

Sioux Falls, SD

A bill banning synthetic marijuana is just one signature away from becoming a law. 

Senate Bill 23 is on Governor Dennis Daugaard's desk with an emergency clause on it, requiring it to go into law right away.

If  Daugaard signs it, you can expect a zero tolerance policy from Sioux Falls Police.

"That does not mean we're going to start on the north side of the city and do a huge sweep and nail everybody that has possession of it, but it is a law that needs to be enforced," Det. Sean Kooistra with the Sioux Falls Police, said.

Though the law would be a felony to have synthetic marijuana, Kooistra is not sure how charges will be doled out.  Both smoke shop owners and their employees could be penalized if they are caught selling synthetic drugs. Some stores in the area are already ditching the product.

"They're paying attention to what it appears the future's going to hold in regards to the law pertaining to synthetic marijuana. I think it's important for them to do that," Kooistra said.

Attempts to put felony charges on synthetic marijuana are nothing new. Kooistra said all the extra attention this year may have helped put the expanded bill in the governor's hands.

"Do personal stories have an impact on that, I think they do. I think they do. Even the persons making these decisions are human-beings that have a personal side to them," Kooistra said.

While a few swipes of the pen from the governor will equal an iron-clad solution, police officers plan to use as many resources as they can to keep a potential law strong.

"Not just educating police officers and law enforcement on what it is and how to proceed with how we're going to handle this, but very important to educate the public on it," Kooistra said.
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