Pot mimic drug gets board note

Published 6:54 pm Wednesday, June 16, 2010

City officials have decided there has to be a way to halt thesale of a legal incense that young people have been smoking as amarijuana substitute.

Ward Four Alderman Shirley Estes said she had heard that an herbalincense, often referred to as K2, is being sold out of someconvenience stores and on the street in Brookhaven, and thatsmoking it can be dangerous.

K2, also known as K3, Spice, or Spice Gold, is laced with drugsthat mimic the highs of marijuana or methamphetamine. It is legalto sell but is not meant for human consumption, officialssaid.

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Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson said he is aware of thesubstance, which comes in a small round container, but since thereis not currently a law against it, there is very little hisofficers can do about it. The chief said he had called the AttorneyGeneral’s office to try to find out what possible recourse cityofficials have in getting the herb off the streets and out of thehands of teens.

“I and the city attorney can write him a letter and they can do theresearch and get us an opinion that we can use to pass a lawagainst the sale of this incense,” he said.

Henderson said he had not actually witnessed the use of the herb,but that he had heard a lot of talk about it.

Estes said that she has seen a container of the herb, and in spiteof the warning on the container that says, “Not to be sold tominors,” it is not regulated. She said she had also held it in herhand and noticed that it caused a burning sensation.

“The bad thing is that any minor can buy it,” said Mayor LesBumgarner. “You can’t buy cigarettes, but you can buy this.”

Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron pointed out that the incense isalso not regulated like cigarettes are.

Bumgarner said he had held conversations with Southaven cityofficials who said they were facing the same problem with peoplecoming in from out of state to sell and buy the incense since itwas outlawed in Tennessee.

The Associated Press reported the boards of aldermen in Southavenand Horn Lake passed ordinances Tuesday banning the sale of theherbs that have been sold as incense products at some local stores.It also includes a ban on synthetic methamphetamine.

The board agreed that City Attorney Joe Fernald and Henderson wouldlook into getting an opinion from the attorney general to try tohalt sale of the herb in Brookhaven.

Estes also brought the board’s attention to the fact thatdoor-to-door salesmen are often bussed in, dropped off in town andallowed to go from house to house or business to business until thebus leaves. She mentioned that one group had accidentally beengiven a permit to knock on doors until 10 p.m.

Although that was a mistake, officials the fact remains that manyBrookhaven residents don’t want people they don’t know knocking ontheir door after dark.

“These permits should stop at dark, whether that’s 5 p.m. in thewinter or 8 or 9 p.m. in the summer,” said Bumgarner.

City Clerk Mike Jinks said that things like magazine sales or GirlScout cookies that guarantee future deliveries do not require apermit, but that the city clerk’s office often asks groups to letthem know when the campaigns are going on.

Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell said he had also been working withthe police chief on what to do about what he called “criminalelements” in mobile home parks and apartment complexes in thecity.

“He believes he can take care of the situation without us having toconsider an ordinance for a curfew,” Maxwell said. “I think ChiefHenderson will try to handle it without us having to dothat.”

And yet, Maxwell added, there should be some thought given towhether or not there needs to be a curfew – especially on theweekends – for some of the problem areas in the city.

“Each board member should keep that in mind for the mobile homeparks and apartments,” he said.