O’Brien Joins Fight against Meth with New Legislation

Senator Margaret O'Brien

Senator Margaret O’Brien

LANSING, Mich. – Legislation introduced this week by state Senator Margaret O’Brien would make it a crime to solicit others to purchase pseudoephedrine for the purposes of manufacturing methamphetamine.

“It’s critical we continue the fight against methamphetamine,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “Meth production is positive for no one and ruins lives and families. I applaud the bipartisan efforts to protect lives as meth production is a serious issue in my community.”

Senate Bill 409 would enhance the existing law that established a felony charge for the organized group purchasing of products containing pseudoephedrine to cook meth – a practice also known as smurfing. O’Brien’s bill would establish a new misdemeanor charge for anyone who attempts to solicit another’s help in acquiring pseudoephedrine products. SB 410, sponsored by Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, is a companion measure that would revise the sentencing guidelines.

The new misdemeanor offense would carry penalties of not more than one year in prison, or a fine of not more than $1,000 or both. Individuals convicted of this misdemeanor would also be blocked from purchasing any products containing pseudoephedrine without a valid physician’s prescription under the Methamphetamine Abuse Reporting Act.

Meth production and abuse is on the rise in Michigan, and O’Brien said by establishing a new misdemeanor charge, for example, first-time offenders would have a slightly easier time rehabilitating.

Identical versions of the two bills were introduced in the state House by Representative John Kivela.

“I appreciate the opportunity to work with Senator O’Brien on this important issue,” said Kivela, D-Marquette. “This is a serious health issue affecting all corners of the state.”

SBs 409-10 have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.