Legislation to Increase Methamphetamine Penalties Introduced


May 1996

On March 12, 1996, legislation was introduced in both houses of Congress to increase the penalties for methamphetamine offenses and to put tighter controls on the chemicals used to manufacture the drug ("Controls on 'Meth' Precursors Proposed in House and Senate," Drug Enforcement Report, March 25, 1996, p. 5).

The "Methamphetamine Control Act of 1996" was introduced as H.R. 3067 by Rep. Vic Fazio (D-CA) in the House and as S. 1607 by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in the Senate.

According to the bill, a chemical supply house that sells methamphetamine precursor materials to someone who uses, intends to use, or attempts to use the chemicals to produce the drug would receive a warning from the Drug Enforcement Administration. For a second offense, the bill would impose a civil fine of up to $250,000. After the third violation of the statute, the business would be barred from producing or selling chemicals.

Maximum prison sentences for possession or distribution of certain precursor chemicals with the intention or knowledge that the chemicals will be used for the manufacture of a controlled substance would be doubled from 10 to 20 years. Iodine, red phosphorous, and hydrochloric gas would be added to the list of controlled chemicals.

Penalties for possession or manufacture of equipment with the intent to make methamphetamine are also increased in the proposed legislation from four years to ten years. The legislation also asks for the government of Mexico and other countries to take greater precautions in the shipment of a key methamphetamine precursor chemical, ephedrine.

Co-sponsors for H.R. 3067 (as of April 16) are: Rep. Gary Condit (D-CA), Rep. Pat Danner (D-MO), Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Calvin Dooley (D-CA), Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA), Rep. Tim Hutchinson (R-AR), Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-MA), Rep. Thomas Manton (D-NY), Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), Rep. Ron Packard (R-CA), Rep. Frank Riggs (R-CA), Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), Rep. Karen Thurman (D-FL), and Rep. Robert Underwood (D-Guam). Co-sponsors for S. 1607 (as of April 16) are: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV).

[Copies of these bills can be found at the Library of Congress Bills and Congressional Web Server at http://www.thomas.loc.gov/. If you do not have access to the World Wide Web, contact the NewsBriefs office for copies.]