'Bath salts' may soon be illegal in Texas


by Tiffany Craig / KHOU 11 News


Posted on May 22, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Updated Monday, May 23 at 10:24 AM

SANTA FE, Texas—A local family feels some sense of relief after a bill to ban bath salts has made it all the way to the governor’s desk.

When James Baldwin opened up about the suicide of his son in January, he just wanted to make people aware of the substance.

"If you’re doing the stuff, stop it and if you haven’t done it, don’t," said Baldwin. "That’s all I can say about that bath salts. It’s bad. It killed my boy."

His boy was 31-year-old Joey Baldwin. He was hooked on what some consider a legal form of cocaine. He started getting paranoid, hallucinating and eventually took his own life.

"I had signs that I didn’t take advantage of," admitted a heartbroken Baldwin. "I didn’t use it at my full potential. I could have made him stop. I don’t know."

The Baldwins knew sharing Joey’s story wouldn’t bring him back, but it is making a difference around the state. KHOU 11 News’ original stories on the substance caught the attention of State Representative Garnet Coleman.

"I heard about it through your newscast and it disturbed me," said Coleman.

Representative Coleman introduced a bill that would ban the chemical hallucinogens bath salts. The product is also sold under the names Cloud 9, White Lightning and Ivory Wave.

Coleman’s bill has made it all the way to the governor’s desk to be signed.

Below is a list of punishments for possession, manufacturing and delivering.

If approved, offenders with less than one gram on them would be charged a state jail felony and could be sentenced to up to two years in prison. Possessing between one and four grams would be a felony and punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Offenders carrying between 4 and 400 grams could get between five and 99 years in prison. Someone having more than 400 grams could face up to life in prison.

If signed, the bill will go into effect in September.