The New York State Senate today passed legislation to reduce the number of clandestine methamphetamine laboratories, which pose dangerous threats to public health and safety. The bill (S3639), sponsored by Senator Thomas O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) implements a series of increasingly severe felony offenses to strengthen the criminal penalties for methamphetamine manufacturing and the possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material.
“Meth labs pose unacceptable risks to our neighborhoods, threaten the safety of police officers and first responders, and burden local systems of health care, criminal justice and social services,” said Senator O’Mara. “Our laws need to keep pace with the ultimate goal of putting meth manufacturers out of business in New York State. We also hope tougher anti-meth laws will act as a stronger deterrent among our young people at risk of falling prey to this cycle of addiction, violence and tragedy.”
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 will be sent to the Assembly.