Anti-meth bill limits cold medicines to pharmacies |

Anti-meth bill limits cold medicines to pharmacies

Associated Press Writer

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Nevada Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, speaks on the Assembly floor Friday.

Nevada lawmakers gave final approval Friday to an anti-methamphetamine bill that limits the sale of some cold medicines to pharmacies.

AB148, now going to Gov. Jim Gibbons, was worked out in a Senate-Assembly conference committee and had Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto’s support.

Assembly Republicans had opposed an earlier anti-meth bill, which failed to pass the Assembly by one vote last week. Assemblywoman Valerie Weber, R-Las Vegas, said the reporting requirements in that bill were “arbitrary” because they didn’t include loss reporting.

Retail and drugstore lobbyists also opposed the previous bill, saying the reporting and fee requirements on stores were too onerous. The stores would have had to pay $200 fees and issue quarterly reports on purchases, sales, and transfers of all cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, which is used in the manufacture of illicit methamphetamine.

Under AB148, those stores will be prohibited from selling the medicines altogether. Elizabeth MacMenamin, a lobbyist for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the earlier reporting requirements were “unworkable,” but she supports the new bill, including the ban on all non-pharmacy sales.

Cortez Masto joined the conference committee that signed onto the compromise bill Friday, urging them to support the pharmacy-only restriction. Nevada will join 16 other states that have such a prohibition.

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The bill also allows for criminal penalties against anyone selling selling lithium and sodium metals used in making meth.

Weber said Assembly Republicans were in full support of the amended bill, which includes new, state-level reporting requirements for the pharmacies that will continue to sell the over-the-counter medications. Pharmacies already report losses to federal drug authorities. Under AB148, they will make the same reports to state law enforcement.

While the meth issue had sharply divided the Assembly last week, Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, said the new version is a “good bipartisan effort.”

Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, said the new version is a “good bipartisan effort.”

“I’m happier with this version,” said Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno. “It meets the goal that I had, which is to restrict access to criminals who are making meth. I know that in Reno, people just go from one convenience store to the next” buying the cold medicines that are precursors for cooking meth, she said.

Leslie said that while she’s satisfied that AB148 gives plenty of tools to law enforcement, the state has “come up short on the treatment side,” adding only about $5 million for the state Division of Mental Health to run more drug treatment programs.