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March 30, 2012 - 12:25pm

County health inspectors visiting shops that might sell synthetic weed to enforce new statewide ban

posted by Howard B. Owens in synthetic drugs, synthetic marijuana.

County health officials are visiting some local retail stores today to see if they are selling so-called synthetic marijuana, and if they are, notifying the owners that the substances are now banned in New York.

Earlier this week, the NYS health commissioner issued an order prohibiting products that fall under the umbrella heading of “synthetic cannabinoids” — products that are sold as “incense” and not for human consumption but are often smoked as a substitute for pot -- from being sold in the state.

There have been numerous reports throughout the state of health-related issues arising from use of these products.

The ban does not make sale or possession a criminal violation, but merchants can be fined by the state for the sale of products covered by the ban, even if they claim they’re not selling them for human consumption.

David Whitcroft, interim public health director, said if environmental health inspectors find a local business selling a banned substance — which includes from a previous state ban synthetic meth, known as bath salts — the owner will be served with the commissioner's order, given an affidavit of service and the merchant will be required to cease selling the products or face the possibility of fines.

If actual enforcement of the ban is necessary, it will be handled by state health officials, not the county department, Whitcroft said.

Any merchant served with an order has 15 days to challenge it and present proof that the products being sold are not a public health danger.

The state provided county health departments with a list of suggested retail outlets to check for sale of synthetic marijuana, including convenience stores, gas stations, "head shops" and tattoo parlors.

The department also welcomes tips from local residents about the sale and distribution in the county of synthetic marijuana and bath salts by calling 344-2580, ext. 5001.

Whitcroft said health inspectors will visit every possible location in the county where such products might be sold, except on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation, which is under federal jurisdiction on this matter.

Four shops on the reservation were raided by local and federal law enforcement Feb. 23 and products such as K2 and Spice were reportedly seized, but no arrests have been announced by federal authorities.

There is legislation pending that would make the banned products illegal to sell or possess in New York.

Previously:

Doug Yeomans
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It's too bad the state can't fix REAL problems that affect ALL of us as fast as they outlawed something that affects a MINISCULE number of people.

Scott Birkby
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It's about time we found a new source of inmates for our state prison system. I recently read that the inmate population in New York has dropped somewhat. Our lawmakers need to understand that many, many New Yorkers livelihoods depend upon getting folks incarcerated. Our prison industry is depending on lawmakers, law enforcement and the court system to keep the cells full. Congratulations on this new law.

Thomas Mooney
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I agree with Scott and Doug , but making sure its not sold is good for our County . It is still available in other States and is still in high demand so it might save a life or a family from the trauma accosiated with this stuff. Thanks Health Department .

Scott Birkby
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That's right, Tom. If booze were illegal, you would probably have people drinking all sorts of dangerous chemicals instead. Please don't think that I want stoned people driving around, but it seems kind of stupid that something that can be grown next to the tomatoes and zucchinis is illegal to begin with.

Doug Yeomans
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Scott, don't forget that growing things in your garden can include Papaver Somniferum (Opium poppy), not just the good ol' happy weed. Everyone's gramma used to have it in her garden and all around the house, along with other poppy species.

I'd love to know how many millions of dollars it cost to push that useless bit a legislation into law.

Frank Bartholomew
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During prohibition, I'm sure rumor and mis information was spoon fed to the public. All the side effects that have been mentioned are no worse than possible side effects prescription drugs may cause. Just another case of big brother choosing which drugs we can use legally. The spice industry better buy a politician or two.

John Roach
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Scott,
This is not a law yet, it's a mandate. They are waiting for the law to be passed.

Doug Yeomans
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Kind of odd how it's perfectly legal to drive to a drinking establishment to consume a drug that kills tens of thousands of people every year but a little bit of synthetic weed throws the state into panic mode.

tom hunt
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Alcohol has been around as long as man learned to squeeze the common grape to product an intoxicating beverage. Yes, I agree, to some people, they can't handle it and it brings out the monsters of the ID and problems to their families and Society in general. I can't agree with the modern trend to intake a unknown and possibly noxious substance into one's body with unknown results. This is not natural herbs or sustances, but synthetic garbage cooked up my unknown individuals who don't give a damm about the damage it can cause and are only looking for the profit edge. I whole heartedly support the Government actions to eliminate this stuff from the public market place. If you want to kill yourself, use a .38 caliber, it is guicker and less painful.

Frank Bartholomew
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TP, thanks for the help in making my point, mis-information, rumor and very little fact. Read the possible side effects of hundreds of prescription drugs, they scare the hell out of me.
If everyone used guns to kill themselves , guns would be banned in no time.
How many people die due to tobacco, why hasn't that been banned?, because the law picks and chooses what is and what isn't good for us. If pot were legal, we would not be having this conversation.

Mark Potwora
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Frank i agree...Your last paragraph said it all..........................................How many people die due to tobacco, why hasn't that been banned?, because the law picks and chooses what is and what isn't good for us. If pot were legal, we would not be having this conversation................................................

Frank Bartholomew
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Thanks Mark, I am just sick and tired of so many laws , the more we make illegal, the more criminals we create, Talk about job security.

Mark Potwora
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This has alot to do with a politician making a head line.....This is bad stuff but so isn't cigarettes that will kill more people and cause billions in costs to the health care system............but its taxed and the state makes a ton of money on them..........

scott williams
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It doesn't take a law to make people do or not do drugs. With a law the people who are going to do drugs will break it and do them. Without the law the people who are going to do drugs will do them without breaking it. It's a damn shame but the new mandate or law or whatever restriction you call it will not stop the drug flow never has never will!! Bet you can't find any mis-information in that..
I myself would like lower taxes, if we're gonna bust and fine(tax) only a small percent of the users then lets make it legal and get the tax from everyone smoking it; maybe it would have kept Robert Morris open!!

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