Gov. Bill Haslam Monday signed into law a multi-faceted bill to help combat the increasing problem of methamphetamine manufacturing and use in Tennessee.
Many of the key provisions of the law take effect July 1. The legislation aims to tackle Tennessee’s meth problem in a variety of ways, including increasing the penalty for making meth in the presence of children and tracking the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine, which is a key ingredient in making meth.
The bill makes pseudoephedrine sales information available promptly to law enforcement and makes it easier to prosecute those who purchase pseudoephedrine products at different times and places for the purpose of exceeding the allowable amount, or through use of false identification.
Law enforcement officials seized 2,082 meth labs in Tennessee in 2010, a record number.
Legislators, representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, local officials and law enforcement officials, among other key stakeholders from across the state, joined Haslam on the steps of the Greene County Courthouse in East Tennessee as he signed the bill into law.
“This bill helps us to confront Tennessee’s meth problem head on and is a comprehensive approach to addressing a serious problem in our state,” Haslam said in a release. The governor praised Bill Gibbon, the state’s Safety and Homeland Security commissioner, for his leadership on the issue.
Bill sponsors include Sen. Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), Sen. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge), Rep. David Hawk (R-Greeneville) and Rep. Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville).
During the event, Haslam also announced the availability of more than $1 million to assist in meth lab cleanup.