Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Florida Attorney General Bondi outlaws drug through emergency order

Via Atrios at Eschaton, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has issued an emergency order.
Hoping to fend off a rash of overdoses in Florida during the upcoming spring break, Attorney General Pam Bondi has outlawed a synthetic drug cocktail masquerading as "bath salts" that has apparently give users super-human strength and has similar effects to LSD, heroin and cocaine.
Bondi issued an emergency order Wednesday banning the drug -- Methylenedioxypyrovalerone or MDPV -- after Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen brought the dangerous concoction to her attention Friday.
Effects similar to LSD, heroin, cocaine, and super-human strength?  Gee, why shouldn't I believe that?  That doesn't sound like bullshit at all!  What penalty will be faced by those who violate this decree?
Bondi's new ban, which took effect immediately, makes possession or distribution of the MPDV bath salts a schedule 1 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison.
"To put it in perspective, that's right up there with cocaine and heroin," Bondi said.
So an attorney general can just make laws by fiat?  What about the state legislature?
Bondi's emergency order will last 90 days, giving lawmakers time to criminalize the bath salts during the legislative session that begins March 8.
Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, standing beside Bondi at the press conference late Wednesday afternoon, said that lawmakers would "act quickly" to permanently ban the substance.
I'm sure they will act quickly, but what if they didn't?  If the state legislature failed to enact a ban, what would become of those who are charged in the interim?  Are they still guilty of a felony?

An attorney general can do this?  Seriously?  Without the consent of the governor?  (I'm sure the governor could override it, but the idea that the attorney general can single-handedly start it off seems wrong.)

What constitutes an "emergency" for these purposes in the first place?

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