Naked Zombie Legislation

June 14, 2012

A street drug known as “bath salts” has taken the blame in a recent high profile crime in Florida (2012 WLNR 11358498). That event, along with other reports of the drug causing bizarre, psychotic episodes has caused a number of states to create legislation banning some of the chemicals (synthetic cathinones) commonly used in “bath salts.”

A simple plain language search in News on WestlawNext pulls up a number of recent articles on legislative efforts to criminalize bath salts:


Changing the result rankings using the “Sort by” drop-down and choosing “Date” shows news articles discussing very recent legislation. I ran a search on June 8th, and found an article from that very same day about the governor of Colorado signing a bath salts bill.

Because “bath salts” is such a common term that can obviously come up in a variety of unrelated contexts, I wanted to try something more specific for my search in proposed legislation. My search in the news sources helped quite a bit in that it provided me with the technical term for the drug, synthetic cathinones. We can search using that language, which should probably help quite a bit to bring back relevant proposed legislation.


Back on the home screen for WestlawNext, I clicked on the link to “Proposed & Enacted Legislation.”  I ran the following simple search:


I get a lot of results. 507 proposed or enacted pieces of legislation in all jurisdictions that mention Cathinone or Cathinones. See for example, Colorado’s Senate Bill No. 116:

TITLE: Bath Salts As Controlled Substances

VERSION: Amended/Substituted

February 21, 2012
SUMMARY: The bill defines cathinones and establishes criminal penalties for possession of cathinones and for distributing, manufacturing, dispensing, or selling cathinones. Any person or entity that sells a product that is labeled as a “bath salt” or any other trademark and contains any amount of a cathinone commits a deceptive trade practice and is subject to a civil penalty.
2012 Colorado Senate Bill No. 116, Colorado Second Regular Session of the Sixty-Eighth General Assembly, 2012 Colorado Senate Bill No. 116, Colorado Second Regular Session of the Sixty-Eighth General Assembly