City of Utica drafting ban on synthetic drugs

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. - Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri says that he has directed the office of the Corporation Counsel to draft a law banning the sale of synthetic drugs within the City of Utica.

"There is simply no legal alternative to marijuana. Any convenience store, head shop or local internet seller trying to market fake pot will be shut down and those responsible will be arrested," Palmieri said. "Wherever there is a demand for an illegal substance, there will always be a supply. The fight against exploitation of our children and adolescents never ends."

Existing federal bans on substances designed to produce the same effect as marijuana are easily circumvented," Palmieri stated, adding that a stronger permanent prohibition is stalled in Congress.

In March, Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the State Department of Health to implement stiff regulations against substances carrying brand names like "Spice" and "K-2."

"We have to take decisive local action," Palmieri said. "The best way to stop the sale of illicit substances is street-level intervention. No convenience store, gas station or head shop owner wants to see a police officer walk through the door searching their shelves and store rooms for dangerous drugs. Passing this ordinance is both a warning and a promise that the sale of synthetic marijuana will be punished," Palmieri concluded.

The synthetic compound is believed to have even greater destructive impact than real thing because it contains substances more powerful than THC, the drug found naturally in marijuana.

Common Councilman Jim Zecca has expressed interest in introducing the new legislation. Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi and Senator Joseph Griffo have made similar proposals in the New York State Legislature.

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