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Originally published Monday, April 25, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Bill would limit meth production

The Legislature unanimously passed a bill this weekend that lawmakers called a critical step in curbing the production of meth. "We worked hard through...

OLYMPIA — The Legislature unanimously passed a bill this weekend that lawmakers called a critical step in curbing the production of meth.

"We worked hard through tough odds, but this is going to make a huge difference in all of our communities, and particularly Pierce County," said the bill sponsor, Rep. Tom Campbell, R-Roy.

If the bill is signed into law by the governor, stores would be required to keep nonprescription cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanoline — the primary ingredients of home-cooked methamphetamine — behind their counters.

Store clerks would be required to ask for photo identification to ensure buyers were at least 18. The bill also calls for reducing the number of packages customers are allowed to buy in a 24-hour period from three, under current law, to two.

In addition, it would require that stores keep a log noting who buys the products, Campbell said. The record would help law-enforcement agencies identify people buying the medications in large quantities.

Pierce County has been the epicenter of Washington's meth problem. The state Department of Ecology cleaned up 542 meth labs in the county last year, Campbell said — nearly half of the 1,399 labs cleaned up statewide and more than double those in King County.

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