The Sudafed Loophole
If someone sells you some Sudafed outside of a pharmacy, are they exploiting a “loophole” in drug laws, or are they simply committing a crime? After all, Sudafed is a legal product, provided it is sold at a licensed pharmacy in accordance with applicable state laws and Federal laws established by the Combat Methamphetamine Act of 2005.
Understand that this drug and others like it are perfectly legal, and do not even require a prescription in most cases. The only reason that the sale of these legal drugs is restricted at all is because they contain pseudoephedrine (PSE), and someone could something illegal with it. Because of this, we have laws which require that retail sales go through a licensed pharmacy, subject to multiple restrictions including minimum legal age, requirement to show photo ID, and other restrictions on amounts, frequency of sales, and even form of packaging. Person-to-person transactions in pseudoephedrine are illegal (above certain amounts).
Sound familiar? It should.
(Bear in mind, I’m not bringing this up to question whether sales of a legal product with lots of legal uses should be restricted just because someone might use it illegally. After all, we aren’t looking to restrict hammer sales just because they are used to murder.)
The question remains: If someone sells another person some Sudafed in accordance with the law, but that person later uses that Sudafed illegally, what is the cause of that crime? Is it that there is a “loophole” in the law controlling the distribution of PSE, or is it that the buyer used the PSE illegally? Was the crime committed the fault of weak PSE controls, or the fault of the criminal?
Asking for 100 million friends.