Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner signed an executive order yesterday restricting how drug retailers can sell over-the-counter cold and allergy medications, which are sometimes used to make methamphetamines, reports the Washington Post. The regulations, effective by Oct. 1, will restrict the amount of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine that a person can purchase in a 30-day period. Buyers will have to show identification and sign for the drugs, which retailers will now be required to keep behind counters.
The action, designed to combat the proliferation of methamphetamine labs, sparked a debate between this year’s candidates for governor. Republican nominee Jerry W. Kilgore does not support mandatory regulations because they place extra burdens on small retailers. He previously set up a “Meth Watch” program making compliance among such stores voluntary. His opponent, Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, backed Warner. “It would be irresponsible for the state not to act, as we see how these actions have dramatically cut back on meth labs in other states,” Warner said.