House Bill Would Enhance Penalties for Meth to Minors

By Larry K. Houck

In an effort to combat a new aspect of the methamphetamine epidemic, Congress has introduced yet amendment to the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). Representative John Boozman (R-AR) has introduced legislation in the House that would enhance criminal penalties for methamphetamine traffickers who target minors. H.R. 3702, known as the “Stop Marketing Illegal Drugs to Minors Act,” was introduced on October 1, 2009. Congress Boozman issued a news release statingthat the bill “specifically targets flavored methamphetamine, a version of the drug specially colored, and specifically made to have a candy-like taste” noting that the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) has stated that traffickers are luring children with strawberry, chocolate and cola-flavored methamphetamine.

The bill would enhance criminal penalties for anyone who manufactures, creates, distributes, or possesses with intent to distribute, a flavored, colored, packaged or altered controlled substance to make it more appealing to minors. Penalties would also apply to those who attempt or conspire to engage in these activities.

The bill would subject first time offenders in cases involving 50 grams or more of methamphetamine or 500 grams of methamphetamine mixture with fines up to $8,000,000 for individuals and up to $20,000,000 for non-individuals and imprisonment of at least 20 years or life. For first time offenders in cases involving between 5 and 50 grams of methamphetamine or up to 50 grams of methamphetamine mixture, the bill would impose fines up to $4,000,000 on individuals, up to $10,000,000 on non-individuals and imprisonment of between 10 and 80 years. Penalties double for second offenses; fines quadruple for third or subsequent offenses and imprisonment increases to life.

H.R. 3702 has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Energy and Commerce.