MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

May 25, 2013

Crackdown on drugs welcome


— Muskogee city councilors are doing their best to get ahead of a growing problem in our community.

The use of synthetic marijuana has become widespread, but it is extremely difficult to legislate out of existence.

Synthetic marijuana is made from common plants combined with an ever-changing chemical mixture.

The state Legislature has tried very hard to make it impossible to sell.

State lawmakers can’t keep up with manufacturers’ ever-changing chemical mixture.

Just when state lawmakers redefine what is illegal, the manufacturers skirt the law by changing the recipe.

Muskogee city councilors are attacking the issue in another way.

They are attempting to give law enforcement the ability to fine for possession, distribution or use of synthetic marijuana under a public nuisance blanket.

Some of these products are being marketed as a form of incense.

But law enforcers believe the reality is that people are smoking the substance to get high.

By authorizing the fines — if approved by the council next week — makers, businesses and users will find it much more difficult to openly engage in the activity.

That’s a step forward if it all works out.

The ordinance could be challenged in court by someone willing to try to get a judge to agree that it is not for drug use.

But that’s down the road.

Councilors are doing all they can to eliminate the problem now.

For that, we are grateful.