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Published July 26, 2012, 11:05 AM

Sale of synthetic drugs soon to be a Minnesota felony

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's fight to combat designer drugs meant to mimic marijuana and other controlled substances is stepping up a notch with a new law making their sale a felony.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's fight to combat designer drugs meant to mimic marijuana and other controlled substances is stepping up a notch with a new law making their sale a felony.

State leaders and law enforcement officials highlighted the tougher penalties Thursday. They touted a law that takes effect Aug. 1.

It stiffens penalties for selling so-called synthetic drugs by making it a penalty that could carry a five-year prison term. Current law limits prosecutors from charging more than a gross misdemeanor.

The law also gives the state Pharmacy Board power to speed through new rules to keep up with the fast-changing formulas that the drug peddlers often use to evade existing laws.

Just this week, Duluth police and federal authorities raided a head shop known for selling synthetic drugs.

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