Synthetic marijuana and synthetic cocaine are illegal in West Virginia. So why do some stores continue to sell the stuff?
Earlier this year, after a Fayette County high school student had to receive medical treatment for ill effects from smoking synthetic marijuana, that county's sheriff's department confiscated about $2,000 worth of the product from two stores. A report was turned over to the county prosecuting attorney.
Known by a rainbow of names ranging from "Blue Silk" to "Vanilla Sky," bath salts and synthetic marijuana with labels such as "K-2" continue to be stocked on shelves in some stores, according to the State Police. Under state law, virtually all of the compounds are illegal, regardless of what store owners and those who wholesale the stuff to them claim.
One law enforcement officer noted synthetic cocaine and marijuana are marketed indiscriminately in some locations. Even middle school children can buy them in some stores, he remarked.
That is unacceptable - and intolerable. Those who plead ignorance concerning the vicious drugs they are marketing, again, sometimes to children, often are lying. They know precisely what they are peddling.
Law enforcement have taken a tough stand on stores selling these types of synthetic drugs, such as bath salts, and usage is down. Area officers say the law has driven the price up and has sent sales underground, like other drugs.
This is a zero tolerance issue. Law enforcement agencies, perhaps in the process of enforcing the laws against selling tobacco and alcohol to minors, should be on the lookout for the synthetics. If they are spotted on store shelves, they should be seized - and those who placed them there should be prosecuted.