Where Will Tennessee Lawmakers Draw The Line On Pseudoephedrine?

State law enforcers see limiting supplies of allergy pills containing pseudoephedrine as a way to cut the number of meth labs in Tennessee. But pharmaceutical interests are opposed, saying doing so will unfairly punish people with allergies, while doing nothing to curb demand for methamphetamine. (Photo: Nathaneal Hevelone/flickr)

State law enforcers see limiting supplies of allergy pills containing pseudoephedrine as a way to cut the number of meth labs in Tennessee. But pharmaceutical interests are opposed, saying doing so will unfairly punish people with allergies, while doing nothing to curb demand for methamphetamine. (Photo: Nathaneal Hevelone/flickr)

A hard-fought compromise to restrict the allergy medicine used to make meth passed the state House Wednesday.  It’s not as tough as what the governor or many senators would like, but a more restrictive version could still end up getting through.

House lawmakers argued for more than an hour, pitting concerns of law-abiding allergy sufferers against efforts by police to crimp meth production.  The House version would limit people to a 24-day supply of the maximum daily dose of pseudoephedrine each month, for up to five months each year.

It’s twice the amount the governor wants, which failed in an amendment on the House floor, but which could still pass the Senate.  If that happens, the House and Senate versions would be meshed in a conference committee, potentially leading to an up-or-down vote in the House on the more restrictive limits.

Some lawmakers pressured the sponsor of the bill, Rep. David Hawk, not to let that happen.  But Hawk refused, saying he’d press for the toughest limits he can get passed.

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