The North Dakota Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously on Friday morning to adopt the emergency rule changes proposed by state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to ban new synthetic drugs.
At a meeting held in the Harvest Room of the Capitol Building in Bismarck, the board heard testimony regarding the effects of synthetic drug use in the state. Testimony included explanation of the banned drug compounds by Charlene Schweitzer, a forensic scientist with the state Crime Lab, which was similar to her testimony in October regarding the need for banning more compounds.
Prior to this adoption, North Dakota head shops and their owners had already received "cease and desist" orders from the Attorney General, including Hemp Horizonz in Minot and Big Willie's ATP in Mandan. The emergency rules will formally make those compounds that were disallowed by the orders, as well as other similar compounds, illegal to sell or trade under state law.
The Emergency Rule on Spice Cannabinoids and Bath Salts as Schedule 1 Compounds, does exactly that. It will add eight subclasses of synthetic cannabinoids and an expansion to the substituted phenethylamines class in the hallucinogenic substances list, and an expansion to the substituted cathinones class and two new specific substances fluoroamphetamine and fluromethamphetamine to the stimulant substances list of Title 19, Chapter 3, of the North Dakota Century Code.
Family members of Christian Bjerk, a Grand Forks teen who died from an apparent overdose on the synthetic drug "Smiles," or 2C-I, over the summer, attended the hearing and shared their story on the impact of the synthetic. A father and daughter from the Bismarck area were also there to discuss how synthetics they had used had negatively effected them.
"If the agency, with the approval of the governor, finds that emergency rulemaking is necessary, the agency may declare the proposed rule to be the interim final rule," says Title 28, Chapter 32, Section 3 of the century code, which governs the process and legality of rule changes. In this case the acting agency would be the Board of Pharmacy, and this emergency rule will continue from the rules adopted by the board in 2010, said Mark Hardy, the Assistant Executive Director of the Board of Pharmacy.
"The board of pharmacy felt very strongly from the evidence from the Attorney General's office, the Crime Lab, law enforcement agencies, and medical doctors" that these compounds needed to be banned and fit the rules set forth in the Century Code for adopting emergency proposals, Hardy said. The board consists of seven members and all six who were available Friday voted aye on the motion. The seventh member, board President Laurel Haroldson, was absent that day due to family reasons.
The new compounds banned by the adoption of the emergency rules, which can be viewed at the Board of Pharmacy website (www.nodakpharmacy.com), are underlined in the document to distinguish them from the earlier adopted compounds which have since become formal law.