Washtenaw County to businesses: Stop selling K2-like products or face enforcement
The Washtenaw County health officer has issued a formal notice asking all businesses to immediately stop selling synthetic designer drugs, including synthetic cannabinoids like K2 and synthetic cathinones like bath salts.
The announcement comes after communities across southeast Michigan have taken action to confront the issue this week.
Businesses that choose to conform to the request can sign a pledge online and receive a decal to display in their business.
Washtenaw County Public Health has dedicated a portion of its website to the issue. The site outlines risks associated with synthetic designer drugs and resources available for people to get help.
The health department will not be sending out letters to businesses informing them of the notice, said Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, public information officer for Washtenaw County Public Health, explaining that word of mouth and media coverage will be used to spread the news.
People can report businesses that don’t conform to the request by calling the Environmental Health Division at (734) 222-3800.
Once a complaint is received, staff will visit the business and inform the management of the public health notice. The business will then be given 24 hours to remove the products.
Staff will then re-visit the merchant, Ringler-Cerniglia said, and issue a public health order to stop selling if the business has continued to sell K2 or other products.
Violation of a public health order is a criminal offense, punishable by prison time and a fine. Police would be called into enforce the order, she said.
Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com
Synthetic cannabinoids — commonly referred to as incense, herbal and potpourri — is known by several brand names, of which K2 and Spice are the most common.
Physical side effects from synthetic marijuana use include loss of control, seizures, hallucinations, vomiting and elevated heart rate and blood pressure.
There have been nine reported cases of ill effects from K2/Spice use in Washtenaw County since January, according to national poison control center data.
Negative publicity surrounding synthetic cannabinoid products has deterred many local businesses from selling the product already.
A meeting Wednesday of officials from the Washtenaw County Health Department, sheriff’s office and prosecutor’s office, as well as the county administrator developed the “carrot-and-stick” approach to confront the sale of synthetic cannabinoids in the area.
The decal plan is similar to one implemented in Oakland County last week.
The plan is something county administration felt pressured to implement locally as neighboring counties in southeast Michigan took action to ban the sale of synthetic cannabinoid products this week. Livingston County announced its ban Friday morning.