Aug 10, 2010 7:15 PM by Kate Mundy

New Laws Soon Including Ban on Teen Sexting

Sunday August 15, 2010 several new laws take effect in Louisiana.
One makes herbal incense illegal. Tuesday, smoke shops and convenience stores in Lafayette were busy with customers trying to buy "fake pot" before the stuff is officially illegal.

It goes by many names: K-2, Voo-Doo, Serenity and Spice. Users say it gives you a marijuana-like high. "it's just something relaxing to do at home and you're chillin," said one man who wanted to remain anonymous. Starting Sunday it will levy penalties like marijuana.

The mixture is sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

For one middle aged customer at Curious Goods, smoking herbal incense with a few beers was a legal buzz he looked forward too. He's upset the possession or sale of it will now carry a penalty of up to six months in jail. "The lawmakers need to mind their own business and let people live their lives," he said. Violators can get up to five years on a second offense and up to 20 years on a third.

Also effective Sunday, no more "sexting" for teens. A new law bans anyone under 17 years of age from transmitting explicit photos electronically. Minors found guilty will be referred to counseling, adult offenders receiving a minor's picture could be fined or sent to jail for up to six months.

If you're driving along sending or reading a text, expect to get stopped by police starting Sunday. "They cannot write send or read text based communications," said Trooper Stephen Hammons with the Louisiana State Police.

State lawmakers have made it a primary offense, meaning no other reason is needed to pull you over. "Be aware we are looking for it, it is something we're enforcing and it's something that we're taking very seriously," said Hammons.

There are some exceptions to the texting law, including law officers on duty, emergency services personnel and people in emergency situations.


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