State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C, I – Schenectady) recently announced that he and his colleagues in the New York State Senate passed legislation to reduce the number of clandestine methamphetamine laboratories, which pose dangerous threats to public health and safety. The bill (S3639) implements a series of increasingly severe felony offenses to strengthen the criminal penalties for methamphetamine manufacturing and the possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material.
Methamphetamine manufacturing involves the use of highly explosive, flammable and toxic chemicals, and meth labs pose a significant public health and safety threat, especially if they are located in residential neighborhoods.
According to the United States Department of Justice, methamphetamine is one of the nation's greatest drug threats. A recent department report noted that the drug is at its highest levels of availability and purity -- and lowest cost -- since 2005. That's attributed to rising Mexican imports, but also because of increased small-scale domestic production.
The bill passed today includes a provision making it a Class A-1 felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, when criminals are convicted of operating a meth lab for the second time in five years. The charge is currently a Class B felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of nine years. The punishment for the manufacturing meth in the presence of a child is also strengthened to a Class B felony. And possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material in the first degree would increase from a Class E to a Class D felony, punishable by up to two-and-a-half years in prison.
The bill was sent to the Assembly.