Restrictions on Sale of Methamphetamine Precursor Drugs (Ephedrine & Pseudoephedrine)

Meth - Science Equipment

Pharmacies

Methamphetamine precursor drugs are defined as any compound, mixture, or preparation, intended for human consumption that contains ephedrine or pseudoephedrine as an active ingredient. These drugs can be sold over-the-counter, but such sales are subject to amount and location restrictions. Methamphetamine precursor drugs can only be sold in packages containing less than three grams of the drug, and sales of more than six grams of the drug to any one person in one transaction is prohibited. Weights are calculated using the amount of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, not the weight of the medicine as a whole. Minn. Stat. § 152.02, subd. 6 (c) and (d).

Precursor drugs must be kept behind the pharmacy counter and can only be sold by a licensed pharmacist, pharmacy technician, or pharmacy clerk. The buyer must provide identification showing his or her date of birth and must sign a paper or electronic document stating the name of the buyer, date of sale, and amount of drug purchased. Pharmacy employees are required to report suspicious transactions to their boss, and the boss is authorized to contact law enforcement. Civil immunity is extended to those who report suspicious transactions in good faith. Minn. Stat. § 152.02, subd. 6 (e).

No one under the age of 18 can purchase methamphetamine precursor drugs, and sales are limited to no more than six grams of the drug per person, total, in any 30-day period. Minn. Stat. § 152.02, subd. 6 (f) and (g). Violation of these restrictions is a misdemeanor, and the violator is subject to 90 days’ imprisonment or a $1,000 fine, or both. Owners, operators, supervisors, and managers are immune from criminal liability under this section if they can: (1) prove that they did not have prior knowledge of, participate in, or direct the employee or agent to commit the violation; and (2) document that an employee training program was in place to provide information to employees on the legal sale of the methamphetamine precursor drugs. Minn. Stat. § 152.02, subd. 6 (i).

These restrictions do not apply to pediatric products, gel caps and liquid methamphetamine precursors, and forms of the drugs that are difficult to use in making methamphetamine. The Board of Pharmacy is responsible for certifying substances that are exempt. The Board of Pharmacy is authorized to prohibit the over-the-counter sale of methamphetamine precursors in gel capsule or liquid form if the board learns that the substances in these forms can be used to manufacture methamphetamine. These restrictions preempt any local ordinances that are inconsistent with state law. Minn. Stat. § 152.02, subd. 6 (k), (l), and (n); subd. 8a.

Veterinarians

Veterinarians must write a prescription for drugs and products for any species of animal containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. These drugs can only be dispensed, sold, or distributed by a veterinarian or a veterinary assistant under the supervision or direction of the veterinarian. Nonveterinarians are prohibited from purchasing these drugs without a prescription. Minn. Stat. § 35.051.

2 The county common entry point receives, assesses, and dispatches vulnerable adult maltreatment reports that occur in the county and is available 24 hours per day.


The content of this post and any related posts has been copied or adopted from the Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department’s Information Brief, Methamphetamine Laws in Minnesota, written by legislative analyst Jeffrey Diebel and Research Assistant Dariel Weaver.


The content of this post and any related posts has been copied or adopted from the Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department’s Information Brief, Methamphetamine Laws in Minnesota, written by legislative analyst Jeffrey Diebel and Research Assistant Dariel Weaver.

This is part of a series of posts on Methamphetamine (Meth) Laws in Minnesota.