Minnesota is just one of a growing number of states to categorize “plant food” and other designer drugs as illegal drugs. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states have put legal restrictions on the sale and possession of synthetic cathinones, the class of designer drugs commonly known as plant food or bath salts.
Regionally, state legislatures in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota have passed or are close to passing bills that would outlaw synthetic cathinones, synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs.
At the federal level, S. 605: Dangerous Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011 was introduced in March. The bill would classify synthetic drugs that mimic illegal recreational drugs as Schedule I substances — lumping them with heroin, cocaine and meth.
Speaking for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in testimony before a U.S. Senate committee, Joseph T. Rannazzisi, a deputy assistant administrator with the DEA, said that while controlling new synthetic drugs will consistently present challenges, “unilateral action by the Congress to place these dangerous substances directly into the schedule ... is beneficial to the public’s health and safety.”
Plant food and other synthetic cathinones started showing up as club drugs in Europe and the United Kingdom several years ago. Currently the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Australia and Israel have all banned such drugs.