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DENVER – Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday signed a bill outlawing the use of cathinones, commonly referred to as “bath salts.”

“We must work hard to keep these extremely dangerous and addictive drugs off the streets,” Hickenlooper said. “We appreciate the speedy response by the General Assembly to pass this legislation this year.”

The new law, which goes into effect immediately, creates a penalty for the possession of cathinones, the dangerous chemical used in bath salts. It also creates a penalty for deceptive trade practices by anyone who distributes, manufactures, sells or purchases cathinone products.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Joyce Foster and Representative J. Paul Brown, was one of several bills amended late in the legislative session.

Senate Bill 116 was one of 30 pieces of legislation that died on the penultimate night of the legislative session when House Republicans effectively killed everything on the second reading calendar as a last-ditch means of avoiding a vote on civil unions.

On the final day of the session, it was attached to the Criminal Proceedings Omnibus Changes bill, which passed just in the nick of time.

“Bath salts,” which produce a high similar to cocaine or ecstasy, were once available in many Colorado “head shops” alongside bongs, pipes, hookahs and other drug paraphernalia.

They’ve been known to cause paranoia, hallucinations and aggressive behavior.

“Bath salts are a dangerous substance that puts users into a psychotic state,” said Rep. J. Paul Brown, R-Durango, the bill’s House sponsor. “They’re cheap, accessible and extremely destructive.”

Police believe a man shot to death by a Miami police officer while eating the face of a homeless man last month may have been under the influence of “bath salts.”


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“Zombie” cannibal attack exposes why ‘bath salts’ are dangerous