Are packets still sold in stores?
No word yet whether owners have pulled synthetic drugs from behind counter
(Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
RINDGE — More than a week after police and members of Crime Watch held a public meeting where they raised concerns about two Rindge retailers selling synthetic drugs, there is no clear indication of when, or if, the store owners will remove the products from their shelves.
The sale of small packets of synthetic drugs, marketed as herbal incense, or potpourri, is legal to anyone over the age of 18. But legality aside, concerned residents and local law enforcement say selling the synthetic drugs — which when inhaled can mimic the effects of marijuana — is a moral and ethical issue that cannot be ignored.
Despite multiple calls over several days to North of the Border and West of the Border where the synthetic drugs are sold, the Ledger-Transcript was unable to reach the owners for comment. Police Chief Frank Morrill said by phone Wednesday that he has received no official response from the owners about whether they plan to keep the product in their stores or remove them.
Jamal Mortada, co-owner of the convenience stores, said in an interview with the Ledger-Transcript on July 17 that if police or the town want to see the products gone, he is willing to pull them from the shelves. “Even if it’s legal, if they say, ‘stop selling it,’ I would stop selling it,” he said.
Morrill said he has no legal authority to ask the store owners to stop selling the products.
The sale of synthetic drugs is not controlled in the state and their chemical makeup is often altered, making them an elusive target, according to police. The bright, eye-catching packaging is marketed with playful names such as California Kronic, Mad Monkey, Scooby Snax and California Dreams, which has heightened concern in the community that young kids are the target consumer.
Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.