Senate judiciary passes anti-‘smurfing’ legislation

WASHINGTON The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday passed the Methamphetamine Production Prevention Act, introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Grassley’s office stated in an announcement.

The legislation addresses the practice of “smurfing,” where individuals looking to circumvent federal purchase restrictions on pseudoephedrine by the maximum quantity allowed across several retailers, by making it easier for pharmacy operators to use electronic logbook systems in their sale of PSE products.

“Smurfing pseudephedrine products from store to store in city to city is a growing problem, especially in communities that border another state,” stated Grassley. “When we wrote the Combat Meth Act, we didn’t account for these unscrupulous individuals who have learned that if they provide false information or visit multiple stores, tracking and arresting these people is more difficult. … An electronic logbook will be a tremendous asset for local law enforcement and businesses as they work to end the devastating impact of meth on our communities.”

Today’s legislation revises the technical logbook requirements found in the federal Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, which passed in 2006. The Durbin-Grassley bill would change the Combat Meth Act to facilitate the use of electronic logbooks instead of written logbooks. For instance, the bill would revise the Act’s purchaser signature requirement to allow signatures to be obtained and stored on paper when the rest of the logbook information is captured electronically. This would make electronic logbook systems far more cost-effective without hurting law enforcement efforts. The bill would also allow for the use of bar code reader technology, and would revise the current requirement that each purchaser “enter” his or her name and address into a logbook so that retailers can type in the information electronically.

The legislation has been endorsed by numerous organizations, including the National Narcotics Officers’ Associations’ Coalition, the National Criminal Justice Association, the National District Attorneys Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

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