The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 4, 2013

Neosho looks at banning sales of synthetic marijuana, bath salts

By Roger McKinney

NEOSHO, Mo. — Ordinances to prohibit the sale of synthetic drugs known as bath salts and synthetic marijuana are being considered by the Neosho City Council.

The proposed ordinances will be on the agenda for initial consideration at the April 16 council meeting. They were introduced on Tuesday.

The proposal would prohibit stores from publicly displaying the products and would allow the city to seek injunctions against people or businesses selling the products. Violations would be misdemeanors.

Police Chief David McCracken said that before the state law was in place, it was common to find the products openly displayed for sale in Neosho businesses.

“They were very common among students in the high school, the middle school and on the streets,” he said.

Though state law prohibits the products, McCracken said there are valid reasons to adopt city ordinances too. One reason, he said, is that manufacturers work to make the products with ingredients that aren’t prohibited by state law, to try to circumvent the law.

McCracken said some of the cases could be handled in city court, rather than referring them to state court.

“If we have a city ordinance, we can work those through municipal court, which can sometimes move quicker than state courts,” he said. “We’ll still send a lot of them, the more serious cases, to state courts.”

He said the synthetic drugs have been a big problem in Neosho. He said that six or seven months ago, the Police Department responded to several emergency room calls related to people taking the products.

“There’s one death in Neosho that’s linked back to these products,” he said.

Bad reactions

POISON CONTROL CENTERS throughout the United States in 2012 received 2,654 calls related to synthetic drugs known as bath salts and 5,200 calls related to synthetic marijuana, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.