The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 17, 2013

Neosho City Council advances ban on sales, display of synthetic drugs

By Roger McKinney

NEOSHO, Mo. — The Neosho City Council on Tuesday night advanced measures outlawing the sale and public display of synthetic drugs.

Mayor Richard Davidson called the measures “pioneering.” He said final approval will come at the panel’s meeting on May 7 and that it would be the culmination of a yearlong effort. He said it sends a signal that the synthetic drugs will not be tolerated in Neosho.

One ordinance addresses synthetic stimulants, sometimes called bath salts, and the other addresses synthetic marijuana. They 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 a misdemeanor.

State law prohibits possession of the products.

Police Chief David McCracken said he has linked one death to the synthetic drugs.

During a break in the council meeting, Davidson said the city’s efforts began after several local young people were treated at a hospital after overdosing on the drugs. He said the city sponsored a public forum with city officials, police, school officials and health officials.

City Attorney Steve Hays developed the ordinances, modeled on one used in Florida, Davidson said.

The measures could serve as a model for other area towns, he said.

In other business, the council denied a request to rezone a former car dealership property at 222 S. Business Interstate 49 from commercial designation to light industrial.

Howard Birdsong, a former mayor and council member, is representing Quality Petroleum, of Little Rock, Ark., which wants to locate in Neosho. Birdsong said the company plans to include a retail operation in addition to a wholesale and warehouse business. He said he will try to get a city business license under the current commercial designation.

Birdsong said the company will hire six to 10 people.

“We’ve got a company that’s going to bring benefits to Neosho,” he said.

The council approved a $42,815 project to repair the concrete stairway and hand railing leading to the entrance of Big Spring Park. The council also approved $3,050 for engineering services. The concrete for the stairway was poured in 1923. Newton County Historical Society records indicate wooden staircases in the same location in the 1870s or earlier.

No construction schedule has been developed for the project.

The council approved the purchase of a new firetruck at a cost of $550,624. Down payment will be $200,000.


NEOSHO COUNCIL MEMBERS Steve Hart and Tom Workman on Tuesday night took the oath of office after being re-elected without opposition on April 2. Mayor Richard Davidson retained his position when the council reorganized.