Westport bans synthetic marijuana

By Jeffrey D. Wagner

Posted Feb. 22, 2015 at 10:46 PM
Updated Feb 22, 2015 at 10:52 PM 


WESTPORT — The town’s Board of Health has recently taken a strong stand against synthetic drugs.
The board approved a ban on synthetic marijuana and similar cannabimemetics earlier this month, according to a written release. The release states that the ban prohibits the use, sale and possession of synthetic drugs.
The health board on Friday referred all questions on the matter to the town’s tobacco coordinator Marilyn Edge.
Edge said she was contacted by the town’s police chief, who was one of many local authorities contacted by the New Bedford City Council through a letter campaign. Edge, who is the coordinator for a dozen local municipalities, said such a ban is not new but New Bedford was under the impression that they were covering new ground through the ban.
Still, she said, the ban in local communities offers an added layer that should stop the sale of these drugs at convenience stores.
“I have not seen any for sale since we passed our ordinance in Fall River,” Edge said of the city. In fact, she said Fall River was the first in the state to adopt a ban.
Edge said the problem has not gone away, however. She said some of the local hospitals have treated patients who had bad reactions to these drugs, but the hospitals will not ascertain where the drugs were purchased. Edge said she would be naive to believe that some of these drugs did not originate in stores.
Edge said mostly cities have adopted this ban, making Westport only the second town in her coverage area to adopt a ban. Edge said North Attleboro was the first to ban these drugs.
Edge said that before the ban, police chiefs would visit local convenience stores and ask the stores not to sell these products. The ban, she said, offers an additional safeguard.
“You are not going to find synthetics sold openly in convenience stores,” she said.
According to various web reports, the powerful hallucinogenic bath salts are among these drugs, as well as marijuana laced with deadly chemicals.