Lawmakers target candy-flavored meth

Bipartisan legislation introduced Tuesday in the Senate would ratchet up penalties for drug dealers who peddle methamphetamine, cocaine or other drugs flavored to taste like candy.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are targeting drugs with playful names like Pot Tarts and Reese’s crumbled hash brownies, which they say are being used to entice children.

“These dealers intentionally mislead young customers into believing these drugs are less dangerous and less addictive than other illegal drugs,” Feinstein said.

The Saving Kids From Dangerous Drugs Act enhances criminal penalties against people convicted of selling Schedule 1 or Schedule II drugs that are combined with a beverage or candy product, are marketed to look similar to those products or are otherwise modified with flavoring or coloring.

Potential prison sentences would increase by up to 10 years for first offenders and 20 years for subsequent offenses.

Feinstein and Grassley, co-chairs of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, are responding to what they describes as alarming cases, including the 2008 discovery of cocaine in California that had been flavored with cinnamon and coconut and a case in Chicago involving meth that was flavored and sold as “strawberry quick.”

Several groups have endorsed the bill, including the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Major County Sheriffs Association, the National District Attorneys Association and the National HIDTA Directors Association.