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Board OKs immediate fake marijuana ban

As of Wednesday morning, synthetic marijuana sold on the shelvesof gas stations, convenience stores and other venues had better beno longer available for purchase.

It’s a legal matter now.

The Brookhaven Board of Aldermen Tuesday night unanimouslyapproved an ordinance banning the use, purchase, possession,distribution, sale or offering for sale of synthetic cannabinoidsor other synthetic products.

“We’ve had some sad stories already, and we talked about it acouple of weeks ago and I think time is of the essence,” said MayorLes Bumgarner in presenting the proposed law to the board. “We’regoing to pass this and it will be effective immediately.”

While many ordinances take 30 days to go into effect, City ClerkMike Jinks said there was a provision that allowed the board tomake the ordinance immediate. Bumgarner said the city doesn’t havetime for a waiting period.

“It’s based under the necessity to move on it,” Bumgarner said.”We’ll take our chances.”

When Chief Pap Henderson asked the mayor how many days he wasgiving people to take the product off the shelves, Bumgarner didn’thesitate.

“Tomorrow,” he said. “I say tell them to take it off the shelftomorrow. Just like bad Rolaids. Pull it off the shelf.”

Meanwhile the boardroom was full of Brookhaven citizens who hadcome out to ask the board to ban the substance, all of whom werewearing white ribbons tied around their arms. Led by Brookhavenresident Jim McKennon, the group heaved almost a collective sigh ofrelief when the ordinance passed.

“Thank you. Thank you,” McKennon told the aldermen as the groupleft the boardroom.

Ward Four Alderman Shirley Estes, who had brought the subject upfor the first time at the June 15 board meeting, said she’srelieved to see an end to the problem in Brookhaven.

“I’m happy that we have an ordinance passed and that the productis taken off the market. I’ve wondered if it had anything to dowith the vandalism in the city,” she said.

The mayor also added that the ordinance can be tweaked asneeded, since things are constantly evolving in the drug world.

“It might not cover everything it needs to, but I think itdoes,” he said. “We can always amend it if we need to. They’realways going to come up with another gimmick.”

The document states that a person found guilty of violation ofthe ordinance will be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to$1,000. They can also be sentenced to six months in jail.

The move follows other cities in the state, such as Southavenand Olive Branch, that have also put ordinances into place banningsynthetic cannabinoids, officials said.