RosevilleJune 6, 2012
Macomb County’s K2 ban quickly leads to arrests
By Sara Kandel
C & G Staff Writer
The Macomb County ban on K2, or synthetic marijuana, and bath salts led to two arrests in Roseville when officers out enforcing the ban discovered large quantities of them and other narcotics at a local smoke shop.
The owner and an employee at Smokers Alley, located at 27738 Gratiot, were arrested Tuesday afternoon, June 5, when police found large quantities of K2 and bath salt packages available for sale in the store.
During their investigation, officers discovered other illegal items there.
“During the course of the seizure it was found that the store’s owners were in possession of a quantity of marijuana and an illegally possessed firearm,” said Roseville Police Chief James Berlin in a written release. “As a result both the store owner and the employee were arrested.”
Both men were released after being booked pending official charges by the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office. Their names were not released.
The countywide ban on K2 and bath salts went into effect on Monday afternoon, June 4, through the Macomb County Health Department Public Health Code, which gives local health officials the ability to enact laws to address any imminent dangers in the community.
“The law allows us to act immediately when the community is an imminent danger, and synthetic marijuana, bath salts and other designer drugs posed an immediate danger to the community,” said Steve Gold, the Health Department director.
“Synthetic marijuana is a collection of chemicals which have very potent psychological effects that are very harmful,” he added. “Bath salts are cathinones, or stimulants, and they have been known to cause immediate psychotic reactions from extreme delusions to illusions. These are drugs that cannot be used safely for recreational purposes.”
Macomb County is not alone in banning the substances. Many counties across the state have already banned them or are in the process of doing so as local health departments are being pressured to remove the products from their communities after it was widely publicized that the perpetrators of some recent violent crimes were allegedly under the influence of synthetic marijuana or “Spice” while committing the crimes.
Perhaps the most well known incident is that involving Tucker Cipriano, who is accused of murdering his father and violently attacking his mother and brother in their Farmington Hills home while under the influence of the substance.
Gold said the recent rash of crimes associated with K2 and information provided to him from local emergency rooms and the county juvenile court led to his decision on the ban. However, he stressed that the ban is not intended to stop the sale of legitimate incense or bath salts.
“The intention of this isn’t to ban the incense you burn to create a nice aroma or the substances you use in your bath to make you feel nice and create a nice aroma.
“These substances included in the ban have many common names such as herbal incense and bath salts and include labeling that they are not for human consumption to mask the fact that they are for human consumption and have no real purpose as what they say — for use in the bath or to burn for a nice aroma.”
Health Department officials and local police officers have gathered information on the substances and are now able to identify which products are covered under the ban.
Berlin said the Roseville Police Department supports the Health Department’s decision and is working to enforce the ban. Many stores in the city already discontinued sale of the products before the ban went into effect.
“Roseville officers went to several locations that had been known to have sold the substance in the past,” Berlin said. “All were found in compliance with one business turning over their supply of K2 to the police to be destroyed.”
He added that the department looks forward to assisting the Health Department with the ban.
“It is the intent of the Roseville Police Department to assist the Macomb County Health Department in any way possible to enforce the ban upon these substances in our community.”
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