Red Bay leading charge in passing drug ban
RED BAY – City officials in Red Bay took preventive steps at Monday’s council meeting to make sure certain harmful substances weren’t being used or sold in their city.
At the urging of Police Chief Janna Jackson, the council unanimously voted to approve an ordinance prohibiting the use, sale or delivery of synthetic marijuana products marketed under such names as “spice,” “incense” or “potpourri.”
Jackson said synthetic drugs have been a problem in the city on several occasions and she wanted to make sure the problem was addressed before it could get out of hand.
“We figured being proactive and taking care of this now would be the best way to stop these substances from coming into our city,” Jackson said. “We have seen the harmful effects of these substances and we want to protect our citizens and our youth from being exposed to them.”
Jackson said the Red Bay Police Department has made three arrests in connection to synthetic drugs and recently found one city store that sold the products.
“When it was brought to our attention that these substances were being sold in the town, I contacted the seller who agreed to pull the products,” Jackson said. “You can’t count on everyone to be cooperative so that’s why it was best to have this ordinance in place so the ban can be enforced.”
Jackson said even though products like “spice” and “potpourri” haven’t been declared illegal substances, they still cause the same effects of drugs like marijuana.
“We’ve seen these synthetic drugs cause hallucinations, panic attacks, disorientation and seizures,” she said, “and that’s not all the negative effects that could happen from taking something like this.
“I just appreciate the mayor and council being so supportive of the ordinance and for continuing to be concerned about the well-being of the citizens of Red Bay.”
Under the city’s new ordinance, anyone caught using, possessing with the intent to use, selling or distributing any of these synthetic drugs will be subject to a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail. Conviction can also result in an individual or company’s business license being revoked.
Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing agreed that these synthetic drugs are not something to be taken lightly.
“We had one DUI case already where the man admitted to being under the influence of ‘potpourri’ when he was behind the wheel,” Rushing said. “This stuff mimics the effects of marijuana one hundred percent so it’s just as dangerous.”
This past week, the Alabama Department of Public Health held a hearing to explore whether or not these substances should be declared a public health nuisance. Rushing said he hopes for a positive result from this hearing and that state legislation will soon be passed declaring the substances illegal.
“Red Bay is one of the first cities in Alabama to pass an ordinance banning these synthetic drugs and I hope other cities in the county will follow suit,” Rushing said. “Our office will be glad to assist anyone who needs help making sure these substances stay out of their communities.”