County Executive Signs Law Banning Sale and Possession of Synthetic Drugs–$500 First Offense; $2,000 Second Offense

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WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. May 23, 2017:

The bill banning sale and possession of synthetics drugs was passed May 8 by the Board of Legislators and signed by the County Executive last week.

The law identifies the most common hallucinogenic substances found in products, commonly known as K2, fake weed and synthetic marijuana, and imposes civil penalties of $500 for the first offense and $2,000 for a second offense.

Synthetic drugs are paricularly dangerous because they are often marketed over the counter to teenagers and people living in poorer communities as tobacco, herbs, incense, spice, and potpourri, yet contain hallucinogenic chemicals, substances and agents that are made in laboratories to mimic the active ingredients of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs.

In recent years, K2 has been packaged as a number of brand names such as Spice, Red Giant, Smacked,iBlown, Trippy, and Green Giant Scooby Snax.

The new law is being implemented by amending the “Consumer Protection Code” to restrict the sale and possession of synthetic drugs. It has support from public safety, health professionals and bi-partisan support from lawmakers.

County Executive Astorino said:”Synthetic drugs are cheap, potent,available and even market as a safe alternative to drugs. We  know these chemically-concocted drugs pose a serious threat to our communities and that we must face this challenge head-on,”

Legislator David Tubiolo, Yonkers, Co-sponsor with John Testa, Peekskill,and Virginia Perez, Yonkers said “Synthetic marijuana is a  series and dangerous problem from a public health and law enforcement perspective. Because of the inconsistent nature of the chemical compounds used, it is impossible to predict how the drug will affect the user and how severe those effects might be.

“This is especially dangerous for our kids who are the prime target of synthetic drug suppliers. The drug is generally marketed in brightly colored packages featuring familiar cartoon characters. There could not be a more innocent looking product that hides potentially deadly effects.”

Legislator Virginia Perez added: “In committee hearings, we learned from County and local  police that their officers have frequent interactions with individuals under the influence of synthetic marijuan who were ‘zombie-like,’ irrational, violent or suicidal. They also disproportionately among young teens and in low-income areas. This legislation gives law enforcement agencies a very important tool in dealing with synthetic drugs.”

Legislator John Testa, a public school teacher noted “as a public high school teacher, I can see that the danger and accressibility of these synthetic drugs poses a threat to our youth that we must address now. This law not only provides stiffer penalties including fines and possible jail time, it expands the definition of synthetic drugs which makes it harder for the producers and dealers to circumvent the law.”



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