Albany – State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio today announced the passage of legislation (S.5920) that he sponsored that will crack down on the production of dangerously addictive methamphetamine by establishing tough criminal penalties for possessing the materials used to make “meth” and operating the laboratories used to manufacture the drug. The legislation was passed as part of a three-way agreement announced by the Senate, the Governor, and the Assembly.
“The production of dangerous methamphetamines in clandestine labs located in rural regions was a growing problem in our region,” Senator Nozzolio, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee, said. “Now, with the adoption of this legislation that I sponsored, law enforcement will have the support and the tools to go after the producers of methamphetamines and help protect our children and communities. This three-way agreement between both houses of the Legislature and the Governor was critically important to the safety of all residents in New York State.”
The new legislation would:
● create crimes for the unlawful manufacture of meth;
● create crimes for the criminal possession of meth manufacturing material, criminal possession of percursors of meth manufacturing material, and unlawful disposal of meth lab materials. This will allow law enforcement officials to arrest and prosecute offenders when a meth lab is discovered, even if the finished product is not found;
● identify and define meth “precursors,” the ingredients used to “cook” the precursors into meth, as well as the equipment used to manufacture the drug; and
● allow prosecutors to seek felony level convictions for possession of stolen anhydrous ammonia, as well as the larceny of anhydrous ammonia when the crime is committed with the intent to use the materials to manufacture meth.
The legislation will allow the New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services to develop a statewide information program about meth. Also, the New York State Police will be notified by law enforcement of every lab that is found and will create a statewide database of those labs, and the Department of Environmental Conservation will be notified by State Police each time a lab is discovered. The bill also provides for retailers, child protective workers, and EMS workers to receive educational information regarding meth and meth labs.
Meth-related action in the Senate gained ground following a state report earlier this year warning that methamphetamine will become an increasingly dire public health and safety threat unless New York adopts new and tougher laws to combat the drug’s proliferation. The report by the State Commission of Investigation (SIC), “Methampehtamine Use & Manufacture,” warned that the drug’s rapidly growing use and manufacture “poses an urgent threat to public health and safety and without new and tougher laws to combat the threat, New York could become a haven for methamphetamine users and manufacturers.” It highlighted the Southern Tier as a hotbed of criminal meth activity in New York State.
“The use of highly addictive methamphetamines is the fastest growing drug problem in the country and is destroying people’s lives. These tough new laws will help shut down the clandestine labs in our State where methamphetamines are being produced and will help protect our farmers, our families, our communities and our state,” concluded Nozzolio.