GOVERNOR SIGNS SEN. GABBARD'S BILL TO STEM "ICE" FLOW

HONOLULU -June 18, 2008- Senator Mike Gabbard applauds Governor Linda Lingle's decision to sign a bill he introduced to reduce the prevalence of "ice" in Hawaii communities.

Gabbard said, "This new law will close a loophole in our current legal system and allow law enforcement to better track those criminals who go store to store 'smurfing' – buying products with pseudoephedrine with the intention of making 'ice'."

SB 2373, now Act 184, requires pharmacies and retailers to maintain an electronic logbook for sales of products containing pseudoephedrine and send it to the Department of Public Safety every 30 days. All pharmacies and retailers will have until January 1, 2010 to comply with the law.

Gabbard continued, "Back in March of this year, DEA officers busted 'ice' dealers in my district, Royal Kunia, with 50 pounds of 'ice' with a street value of over $1 million. This is one of the largest drug busts in Hawaii history. And with busts like this, it's obvious we need to have the proper tools in place to prevent an increase in 'ice' labs."

In 2006, Hawaii passed a law to allow people to buy no more than 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine at one time and only 9 grams per month. However, there was nothing in the law to prevent people from going store to store to buy the products.

Act 184 creates a class C felony penalty for any person who is guilty of knowingly purchasing, possessing, or receiving more than 9 grams of pseudoephedrine without a valid prescription within a 30-day period. It also establishes a misdemeanor and the immediate license suspension for any retailer who intentionally or knowingly fails to transmit information on the electronic log.

Forty states have passed laws regulating pseudoephedrine sales. Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and West Virginia have passed laws similar to Act 184.

For more information on SB 2373 (Act 184), please contact Senator Gabbard's office at 586-6830.