June 27, 2012 - Just 24 hours before Governor Rick Snyder signed state law banning K2, Spice, and similar synthetic drugs, Orion Township Board voted its own ordinance into effect.
Jerry Nash, Lake Orion chief of police, joined Gov. Rick Snyder and State Sen. Rick Jones on June 19 for a press conference as he signed Public Act 182 of 2012. PA 182 allows the Department of Community Health director to contact the Michigan Board of Pharmacy if a substance is causing imminent danger. The board is then be required to hold a public hearing within 10 days to determine if the substance should be listed as a controlled substance. Jones said synthetic drugs are a growing epidemic with serious long-term negative effects and consequences. He added this poison has already taken the lives of Michigan citizens and it must be taken off the shelves and it needs to be done immediately. Photo submitted (click for larger version)
At the June 18 meeting, Orion Township Board voted unanimously on a synthetic marijuana and dangerous products emergency ordinance.
"The most difficult part of these types of ordinances is trying to identify what you're actually outlawing," said Township Attorney Dan Kelly. "We pulled some of this information from other ordinances, as well as some of the Attorney General information in regards to what's outlawed. It could change in the future, but this is the best and the latest we got to deal with this kind of an issue."
Trustee Mike Flood said it was their responsibility as parents and as guardians of the community to take a hold of the ordinance.
"There are some people out there who have taken this off the shelf and I want to compliment them it, there are other people out there who don't care, they want the almighty dollar," Flood said. "I think we who used the drug.
"I think everyone realizes this is a threat of public safety," he said. "I think the availability is what we're really concerned about."
Trustee John Steimel said he wasn't against the ordinance, but thought he had heard on the radio that state legislation was going to be signed the following day.
"Are we doing something more as a publicity thing," he asked. "I would say yeah, if I thought it was going to take awhile for the state one."
Not knowing the status at the state level or when the law would go into effect, Supervisor said it was better to take action now.
"You take action under the local ordnance, it gives you a tool to use, while you wait for the state," she said. "If we adopt this tonight we got a tool our deputies can use beginning tomorrow morning."
Stimel said he just didn't want it to appear they as if they were "tooting their own horn."
"I thought it was more effective taking that grassroots effort to say 'we really want you take this off your shelves and if you don't, we'll show up in front of your business and encourage people not to use your business,'" he added. "I thought that was a lot more effective than the law to be honest, because it's getting right to the heart of this."
Flood said he would never consider it a publicity stunt.
"This is for the health and welfare of our community and public, it's been an ongoing problem," he said. "If we can stop this tonight regardless of what the state law says, I say let's do it."
Toth called it "a step forward for Orion Township."
"I think it's a great idea, it's something we can do right away," Toth said. "We can actually take the local ordinance out to the public and pass it out to the party stores, where we've seen it distributed in the past."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.