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Baltimore seeks crackdown on sale of synthetics

October 27, 2015
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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City Council members in Baltimore are considering taking steps to stem the influence of illegal but pervasive synthetic drugs such as the cannabinoids that go by the names K2 and Spice. Legislation introduced this week would give city officials the authority to penalize retailers that sell the products, including the possibility of suspending business licenses.

The Baltimore Sun reported Oct. 26 that the bill calls for health inspections of local retail stores and confiscation of suspected synthetic drug products. Confirmatory testing of the products could lead to fines of $1,000 per confiscated package, and repeat violators could lose their license to do business.

The organization Health Care for the Homeless stated that over this past summer, its doctors were addressing two or three cases a day of patients sickened from ingesting synthetic drugs.

The legislation has the support of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and some groups representing local retailers. City health officials also have launched a public education campaign around synthetic drugs' risks, and are asking store owners who don't sell the products to post placards reading “Not a Drug Dealer.”

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