Legislation should deter meth users

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 4, 2003

A piece of legislation that lawmakers recently passed takes a solid step in the right direction to punish those who make methamphetamine, the current drug of choice in Minnesota. Even though there is concern whether or not it can be effective in the real world, the basis of the new law has validity.

The law, which was sponsored by Rep. Jeff Anderson, R-Austin, essentially makes it harder for people to manufacture methamphetamine. It makes it a crime to even attempt to create the highly addictive drug. A person is guilty of a crime if they possess any chemicals or precursors with the intent to manufacture meth.

Certainly, as local law enforcement personnel have pointed out, it will be difficult to prove intent because some of the same ingredients used in making meth can be found in common cold and allergy remedies. Proving that someone has used such products illegally will be tough indeed.

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Law enforcement's concerns should not go unnoticed, but at the same time the core responsibility of the bill is to curb meth making to make it less accessible within the state. It would seem logical that once the first person is arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced under the new law, authorities throughout Minnesota could use the first case as a template to build other cases.

Beyond actual arrests and convictions, the bill could succeed on a psychological level as well. Knowing that they could face prison time for just intending to concoct drugs may be enough to deter someone from producing meth at all.

And at this point -- as area and state authorities are seemingly overwhelmed with the meth problem -- the new law should at least be given a chance to prove itself. Really, there is nothing to lose, except a drop in meth circulating through our towns.