Two Corvese bills become law
STATE HOUSE – Two bills sponsored by Rep. Arthur J. Corvese – one dealing with pimps and the other with hallucinogenic drugs – have been signed into law.
The first bill (2014-H 7620) is designed to help law enforcement target pimps and others who derive proceeds from pandering or permitting prostitution in the state.
Under current law, those convicted of prostitution have been subject to forfeiture of any assets received due to their unlawful acts. But those who induce or allow another to provide those services have not been subject to the forfeiture of proceeds that result from the unlawful activity.
The legislation will strike the forfeiture provision from law as it applies to prostitutes, and will add the forfeiture provision to the law dealing with “pimps,” or, as the law describes them, individuals who by any promise or threat, by abuse or by any other device or scheme cause, induce, persuade or encourage a person to become a prostitute.
“Currently, our laws punish prostitutes, but give a free pass to those who are the kingpins in this illegal trade. Individuals who profit from forcing others into prostitution must not be allowed to keep the money they’ve made from it. This change allows the state to continue to punish prostitution appropriately, but also to follow the money to the people who perpetuate criminal enterprises and seize it,” said Representative Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence).
The legislation also adds the offense of conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substances Act to those offenses subject to the forfeiture provisions. Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) sponsored companion legislation (2014-S 2820) in the Senate, which was also signed into law. Both legislators introduced the legislation on behalf of Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin. Representative Corvese’s bill was cosponsored by Rep. Raymond A. Hull (D-Dist. 6, Providence, North Providence), Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly), Rep. Jan P. Malik (D-Dist. 67, Warren, Barrington) and Rep. Michael J. Marcello (D-Dist. 41, Scituate, Cranston).
The second bill will add the hallucinogenic drugs salvia divinorum, gypsum or jimsom weed to the list of Schedule 1 controlled substances under state law.
The legislation (2014-H 7191) is meant to target unregulated substances that are being sold to give users a high.
According to Representative Corvese, the drugs can be found at some convenience stores and gas stations, and their availability can give people the false impression that their high is somehow safe.
“Unregulated hallucinogens are not safe, and we should treat these drugs as the dangerous substances they are. As long as these substances weren’t illegal, even children could walk into their local corner store and walk out with a drug that could cause them serious harm,” he said.
Salvia divinorum is an herb that can be used as a hallucinogen. Jimson weed, or datura stramonium, is also used as a hallucinogen, and can be fatally toxic.
Although neither of the drugs is currently banned under federal law, several states other have taken action to control the two drugs due to reports of their abuse.
Last year, the state added synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic substances with more dangerous side effects than the naturally occurring drug they mimic, to the state’s Schedule 1 list. Those, too, were available at gas stations and convenience stores.
Adding the drugs to Schedule 1 bans their possession, production and sale, and makes violations subject to the same penalties as those for marijuana and other drugs.
The legislation was cosponsored by Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence), Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly), Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton) and Rep. Edith H. Ajello (D-Dist. 1, Providence). Senator Lombardi was also the cosponsor of its companion bill in the Senate (2014-S 2651) which was also signed into law.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903