LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A pair of proposals aim to toughen Nevada laws against fentanyl — without harming people who are fighting addictions.
Senate Bills 35 and 343 were introduced Monday at the Nevada Legislature in Carson City. Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro outlined the bills, which seek to set penalties for trafficking fentanyl without putting new restrictions on prescription varieties of the drug.
Both bills set a low bar for possession to turn into a trafficking prosecution. Possession of 4 grams of fentanyl would become low-level trafficking. It would go up to mid-level trafficking at 14 grams. At 28 grams, charges would be for high-level drug trafficking. Low-level and mid-level trafficking would become category B felonies, and high-level trafficking would be a category A felony.
Ford talked about the danger of repeating the mistakes made in the war against crack cocaine, making several references to the FX series, “Snowfall.”
Fentanyl has gotten the bulk of the attention as opioid use skyrocketed. There were 216 fentanyl deaths in Clark County in the first eight months of 2022, according to the Southern Nevada Health District. Reports of thousands of pills being seized last year made headlines — 21,000 pills in North Las Vegas, 10,000 pills in a DEA bust, an astonishing 56 pounds of fentanyl seized in a traffic stop near Ely.
The bills were introduced in a hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.