Democratic Candidates Ask County to Act on K2, Other Synthetic Drugs
Livingston County government should follow the lead of other jurisdictions in southeast Michigan and ban synthetic drugs sold under names such as K2 and Spice, Democratic candidates for Livingston County Commission said Wednesday.
This problem is too urgent to wait for legislative action because lives have already been lost, they said. The easy access and low cost of K2 mean that almost anyone can buy it. Pressure from private groups and individuals, such as the Livingston County Community Alliance,
against retailers who sell the substances is helpful, but not enough, the five candidates said in a news release.
"Macomb County officials moved quickly to ban the sales of these substances as an imminent health hazard. West Bloomfield and Shelby townships are considering doing the same. Livingston County needs to follow up with its own action or risk becoming a destination spot for purchase of the items," said Jim Katakowski, of Hamburg
Township, candidate for Livingston County Commission in District 8.
The Michigan Legislature has already banned some synthetic drugs but manufacturers have circumvented that law by making minor changes in the chemical makeup of
Macomb County’s order is based on a section of Michigan’s
public health code which provides authority for officials to act in cases of imminent danger to residents’ health. The ordinance allows for business owners selling the substances to be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, a $200 fine, or both.
The Democratic candidates said the danger posed by these substances meets the test of imminent danger contained in the public health code, based on the reports of
its use and addictive qualities.
"Macomb County officials decided the safety of their community and the health of their residents were too important to wait for lawmakers to act again and stepped up to address the issue themselves. Livingston County should do the same," said Dane Morris, of Hartland Township, candidate for Livingston County Commission in District 3.
Jeff Lee of Genoa Township, candidate for county
commission in District 7, said the issue has personal importance to him. "As the father of two teen-aged daughters, it is the responsibility not only of
elected officials but parents to make sure these substances are unavailable," he said.
Jeanette DiFlorio of Oceola Township, candidate for
Livingston County Commission in District 2, said the county should also take steps to highlight on its website any retailers that do not sell the substances and to allow citizens to report to authorities any establishments that continue to sell them.
"Consumers should have an on-line location to go to so they can see which retailers do not carry these items, which are so harmful to those who use them. The county
website is a logical place for people to look for this information," she said.
Bruce Schneider of Brighton Township, candidate for Livingston County Commission in District 1, said individuals and groups working against drug problems in Livingston County, could help enforce the ordinance by letting officials know which retailers still have the products on their
"County government should do its part, along with the effort being made by the private sector. I am certain that Livingston County retailers, who support the community, will want to voluntarily comply with an ordinance such as this, but if they don’t, they should know that residents will be eager to report them to authorities," Schneider said.
The synthetic drugs are made of a mixture of herbs that is sprayed with chemicals so that when smoked, the substance creates a high. Marketed under names such as
K2 and Spice, they are sold at gas stations and on-line for as little as $5.
Some authorities have linked K2 to a recent attack on a Farmington Hills family. Tucker Cipriano, 19, of Farmington Hills, is said to have smoked K2 and then allegedly killed his father and attacked his mother and brother with a baseball bat. He faces charges of murder and attempted murder.