From The Cumberland Times News:
August 23, 2012
Police united in support for law to ban synthetic drugs
County commissioners plan to hold hearing, must vote before ordinance goes into effect
Matthew Bieniek Cumberland Times-News
CUMBERLAND — A local law designed to ban the manufacture, sale or possession of some synthetic drugs was introduced at Thursday’s Allegany County Commission meeting.
“It’s kind of scary, what some of these kids are getting involved with,” said Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson, who spoke in support of the legislation. Robertson was joined at the meeting by Cumberland Police Chief Charles Hinnant and Capt. James Pyles of the Maryland State Police. Robertson said the two joined him to show that law enforcement in Allegany County was unified on the issue.
Commissioners plan a hearing on the proposed law next week. Commissioners must vote before it takes effect. However, since the law is considered an emergency measure, it would be in force as soon as it is passed by commissioners.
Penalties for violation of the law would be up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
Robertson has been concerned about synthetic drugs for some times and hopes the law will help local law enforcement crack down on their use.
The five-page law includes about two full pages specifying certain chemicals and chemical compounds that are banned. If you try to read it, you might be sent running to your high school chemistry textbook, unless you already know what methoxynaphthoy means. But the chemicals pack a potent and dangerous punch, whether they’re called synthetic marijuana or spice.
Many of the drugs come in tea bag-size packets and small vials about the size of a long thimble. They contain a mixture of herbs and chemicals and are labeled “not for human consumption.” The drugs can cause medical and psychological problems including cardiac disturbances, agitation, delirium, paranoia and psychosis.
The proposed county law was drafted by County Attorney Bill Rudd, who modeled the law after one in Ocean City. The law, by broadening the chemicals and chemical structures banned, will help law enforcement with a problem. That problem is that manufacturers will stay one step ahead of the laws by slightly changing the chemicals in their products.
Delegate Kevin Kelly was an early advocate for a move like the one planned by the county. He had proposed that leaders consider adopting an emergency ordinance similar to one in Ocean City that has “dramatically reduced the sale and possession of bath salts there.”
“On this, we have the ability to shut these shops down. If there is a shop in your jurisdiction and they are selling this stuff, shut it down. If you have the ordinances in place, you can shut them down,” Kelly told the Times-News for a previous story.
Contact Matthew Bieniek at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Staff writers Jeffrey Alderton and Kristin Harty Barkley contributed to this story.