Synthetics Drugs Still Around

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Or, in this case, where there’s a buck to be made. When our state made synthetic marijuana illegal to sell in here, that should have been the end of it. But one of the advantages of synthetics (at least to those who want to dodge the law) is the sheer number available to spray on potpourri. The products can be made legal simply by buying a different chemical as soon as the current one is banned.

But, as reported in the Progress-Index, there is another way to punish sellers besides arresting them. One is to keep customers out of stores that carry the products. That’s what happened last month when military officials at Fort Lee made two businesses (one in Hopewell, the other in Colonial Heights) off limits to soldiers.

The “off limits” rules in the military can be for any reason, usually because of an activity judged harmful to soldiers. It is a mechanism often used to keep military members away from high-crime areas or out of “dens of ill repute.” By declaring the two businesses off limits, the military is sending a clear message: “Continue to sell poison and lose your customers.” We are all familiar with the economic powerhouse that comes by way of a military paycheck – if the money isn’t spent at one business, it will be spent at the competition down the street.

Meanwhile, lawmakers continue to look at legislation that is both broad enough to stop the “switcheroo” practice for synthetics, and narrow enough to be enforceable in court. Individual communities are doing the same by way of local ordinance and zoning restrictions.

It appears that the two year, mounting pressure to get these products out of Virginia has had some effect. They are typically sold in smoke shops and convenience stores. But while there is profit to be made, selling synthetics isn’t lucrative enough to risk losing your business over. The hope is that keeping the pressure up will get owners to reevaluate the situation and voluntarily pull these products from their shelves.


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