A bipartisan majority in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill this morning that would add synthetic drugs to the restricted list of substances under Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. San Diego's delegation supported the measure, save for one member of Congress. Democrat Bob Filner, who's also running for mayor of San Diego, was one of 98 representatives who voted against the ban.
Back in August, CityBeat music editor Peter Holslin reported in-depth on the issue of "spice" (synthetic marijuana) and "bath salts" (synthetic meth) and various legislation moving through the state Legislature to ban the substances. In a statement to CityBeat, Filner says he believes the matter of synthetic drugs should remain with the states:
"I voted against the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011 (H.R. 1254) because the bill is fatally flawed. First, it would circumvent the normal process for scheduling substances as illegal for any usues, and does so without any scientific or medical evidence to support it. We saw from the crack cocaine debate what happens when we act politically with a one-size-fits-all federal crime policy without allowing science or evidence to inform our actions. Second, Congress received numerous statements from pharmaceutical and medical researchers imploring us not to hamper their ability to determine possible medicinal and other appropriate lawful uses of these substances by placing them on the schedule that makes it illegal to possess these substances even for research purposes. Finally, States are already free to address any of these substances, and most are doing so as they see fit. Thus, federal intervention in these matters is neither necessary nor properly based at this time."