stormiestl: (Sleeping Garfield)
This article is an absolute prime example of government thinking. I have seen some stupid things in my time but this so far takes the cake. Please write to the Missouri legislature and tell them to quit wasting our tax payers money on frivilous stupidity!

Missouri bill calls for crackdown on sale of ... baking soda
By Derek Kravitz

JEFFERSON CITY — First, the state said you must make a special trip to the pharmacy counter to buy certain cold medicines. That was to curb production of methamphetamine.

Now, a St. Louis legislator wants you to do the same thing to buy an even more common household item — baking soda — because it's used to make crack cocaine.

Sales of cold medications containing pseudoephedrine, such as Sudafed, are strictly regulated in Missouri. Customers must show a photo ID when they buy the medicine. Pharmacists must log the names and addresses of buyers, including how much they buy. People under 18 may not buy the medicines.

The sponsor of the baking soda bill, Rep. Talibdin El-Amin, D-St. Louis, said the same approach was needed for baking soda because crack cocaine is often produced by dissolving powdered cocaine in a mixture of water and baking soda. "We have crack cocaine running rampant in our neighborhoods," he said. "Don't get me wrong, meth needs to be tackled. But anything that calls attention and brings the crack cocaine problem to the forefront is a positive step."

Don't expect a change any time soon, though. The bill, filed late last month, has yet to reach committee consideration and likely won't reach the House floor for debate this year.

Critics say such a law would be impossible to enforce because baking soda, which is used as a deodorant, as a cleaning agent and in antacid, among other things, is so common.

"To put it behind the counter and create a log that a zillion people would have to use, the law would be completely useless," said David Overfelt, president of the Missouri Retailers Association.

Baking soda could also be replaced in making crack cocaine with drain cleaner or ammonia, others say.

"With these drugs, there are so many different chemicals that can be used — batteries, coffee filters, anything," said Ron Leone, executive director of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association. "It's like MacGyver. Everything's possible."

Drug enforcement experts say the differences between regulating the sale of pseudoephedrine and the sale of baking soda are sizable.

"When you generate a list of people who use baking soda, it pretty much includes everyone. It's a common household item," said Tom Murphy, a special agent with the St. Louis division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

But Murphy said cocaine, in all of its forms, should be seen as a real problem.

"Cocaine is still the primary drug of concern in St. Louis and East St. Louis, Ill.," he said. "It's second behind meth in the rural areas. It's still around."

The baking soda bill is HB1189.
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November 2012

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