Warren moves to ban synthetic drugs

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published June 15, 2012

 Mayor Jim Fouts and members of the Warren City Council added their voices to the collective outcry against synthetic drugs, including “K2, Spice and bath salts,” 
this month.

Mayor Jim Fouts and members of the Warren City Council added their voices to the collective outcry against synthetic drugs, including “K2, Spice and bath salts,” this month.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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WARREN — Add Warren to the list of communities, counties and the state of Michigan that scrambled to draft legislation prohibiting that sale of synthetic marijuana, bath salts and related paraphernalia.

Earlier this month, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said he would personally deliver a letter to some Warren retailers urging them to voluntarily stop selling such products in their stores.

In a prepared statement released through City Hall, Fouts said the stores should have received his letter by June 10.

The mayor also urged members of the Warren City Council to pass an emergency ordinance banning the sale of “K2, Spice, bath salts,” and other synthetic drugs and related paraphernalia, and the council voted unanimously to approve the emergency ordinance when they gathered for their regular meeting June 12.

The mayor called the drugs “growing scourges that lead to violence.”

“As Mayor of Warren, I am beginning a citywide campaign to rid our city of harmful drugs and paraphernalia that cause any number of violent crimes,” Fouts said in the letter to retailers. “I will be asking you, as a Warren retail merchant, to eliminate over-the-counter, easy-to-purchase but very harmful drugs and drug-related paraphernalia from your store shelves.”

The mayor pushed the retailers to display a city-supplied sign stating that, “This Store Says ‘NO!’ to Illegal Drugs,” and said stores that display the sign would be publicized by the city as a “Good Neighbor.”

Warren’s action comes as officials in other cites, and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, pushed for a statewide ban on synthetic drugs. Meanwhile, a countywide ban on synthetic drugs went into effect June 5, making it a misdemeanor for retailers in Macomb County to sell the products.

A package of legislation that cleared the Michigan Senate June 12 and headed to Gov. Rick Snyder for approval would enable state health officials to declare synthetic drugs controlled substances dangerous through a fast-track process.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced his support of the new legislation June 8 and said the connection between synthetic drugs and violent crime in the state is “disturbing.”

A statement released through Schuette’s office said the new legislation also expands the definitions of synthetic cannabinoids (synthetic marijuana, Spice, K2) and synthetic cathinones (bath salts) and includes broader language to cover any variations of the synthetic drugs created in the future.

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