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Citizens picket against synthetic drugs

Johnson Countians came out this weekend to three events in opposition of the sale of synthetic drugs in the county. Dwayne Dickson, pastor of First Christian Church, was instrumental in spearheading the movement of local residents against these dangerous yet still legal drugs.
Johnson County is not alone in its fight against synthetic drugs, often packaged as bath salts or incense and potpourri, as communities across the Tri-Cities area have held protests at several locales selling these products. Cloud 9 Emporium on Route 421 in Johnson County closed its doors on the afternoon of Friday, March 2 as protestors began to pull into the parking lot of Mountain City Glove Plant. Young and old alike held signs they made in protest of the store and the products it sells. “Enough is enough,” “Drugs are wrong, God will be the judge,” “Stop drugs in Johnson County” and “Leave our town,” were some of the words written in large, bold letters across homemade posters and signs. Approximately 35 people gathered at the first protest scheduled for the weekend.
Saturday afternoon's gathering brought out a larger crowd of roughly 100 people. Again, there was no age barrier as attendees included a young man six years old to those approaching their 80's. “The purpose is to send a message to not only the people who sell it (synthetic drugs) but to let our local government know that we want as much done as soon as possible,” said Dickson. As on Friday, the protestors were greeted with honking horns, thumbs up and shouts of approval from the majority of passersby, although a few expressed their displeasure with obscene gestures. Once again, Cloud 9 Emporium closed up shop during Saturday's protest.
“I”m here to let the people of Johnson County know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has feet,” said Dr. Joe Ray on Saturday. “We believe in taking action for the cause of our faith as Christians. Synthetic drugs, as well as illegal drugs, are the scourge of society. We need to get rid of them.” Dalton Osborne, wise beyond his age, held a sign that read, “Even I know that drugs are bad and I'm six.”
“We need to stand up for our people. This isn't a fight against any individual or person,” said Tony Potter, pastor of Evergreen Baptist Church. “We need to help the spiritual condition of our county. Our young people are our future. Most adults know what this stuff can do. We need to show the young people this stuff is wrong.” Protestor Gay Abernathy was pleased with the large turnout of concerned citizens. “He lost a lot of business as several cars came and left,” she said.
On Sunday, a group of approximately 40 people gathered across the street from Cloud 9 Emporium to join together in prayer for the county and its people. Pictures of the protests can be found posted on the Students Against Destructive Decisions Facebook page.