The widespread use of dangerous synthetic drugs now plagues much of the country from coast to coast. Initially appearing in the United States approximately two years ago, these products, often marketed as bath salts, or incense and potpourri, can be purchased with ease on the internet, neighborhood convenience stores, gas stations and locations selling tobacco and its accessories. It has made its appearance in Johnson County.
The United States Drug Enforcement Agency placed a one-year ban in October 2011 making it illegal to sell or possess any product that contains the ingredients mephedrone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone and methylone. These are key components used in the manufacture of bath salts, not to be confused with Epson salts. They had previously not been regulated as they were not intended for human consumption. Some of these chemicals have been found in plant food, fertilizer and insecticides. At this time, these synthetic drugs continue to be sold legally because any minor change can alter the chemical compositions of the ingredients, thus changing it just enough that the ban no longer covers it. This allows manufacturers to skirt the law and make a difficult job for law enforcement. There is really nothing we can charge them with, said Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece.
“Everyone is concerned about the dangers associated with these drugs. We are moving aggressively to stop the illegal sale and use of them because they are taking a toll on our families and communities. That is unacceptable, said Tennessee State Representative Scotty Campbell. Last year, I helped usher through legislation that would curb the distribution of these drugs. But we have learned we need to remain one step ahead of the illegal drug makers. I am joining with other members of the House to pass legislation that updates the law and provides a broader definition for synthetic narcotics so law enforcement has the tools to prosecute those individuals involved with these drugs.” Campbell is a co-sponsor of HB2645 that would prohibit the sale, distribution and possession of these drugs. HB2855, if passed, would revoke both the license to sell beer, lottery tickets and tobacco products for one year if the owner or any of their employees are found guilty of selling any synthetic substance.
At the January 2012 Johnson County Commissioners monthly meeting, a resolution was passed that bans the sale of synthetic marijuana and designer stimulants. It reads as follows: Therefore, be it resolved, by the Board of Commissioners for Johnson County, Tennessee assembled in Regular Session hereby opposes any manufacture, sale or use of synthetic marijuana or bath salts in Johnson County.
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