Westchase residents who want to speak out about Hillsborough County’s proposed synthetic drug law will get their chance Wednesday, Feb. 20.
Commissioners plan to play host to public hearing on the topic at 2 p.m. during their regular meeting.
The new law, if approved, will outlaw the sale, possession and manufacture of synthetic drugs in the county. It would levy a fine on anyone caught selling, manufacturing, distributing or possessing synthetic drugs in Hillsborough County.
With synthetic drugs, such as bath salts, K2 and Spice, becoming a major concern throughout Hillsborough, commissioners directed staff last summer to create a law that would help law enforcement agencies shut down the flow of the chemically created drugs within the county. While state laws already exist banning the drugs and sting operations have been held throughout Hillsborough targeting manufacturers and stores that sell synthetic drugs like Spice and K2, the county wanted to add some local muscle the fight.
The county’s reasons for wanting to do so are summed up in the proposed ordinance:
“Synthetic drugs may be more potent and dangerous than the controlled substances they are designed to mimic due to the unapproved chemicals and chemical compounds contained within them."
The proposed law carries with it a $500 fine for each “package containing a synthetic drug” for first-time offenders. Second time offenders would face $1,000 fines for each package that they sell, manufacture or possess.
This particular law would allow the county’s Consumer Protection and Code Enforcement offices to issue violation notices in addition to law enforcement officers.
Commissioners meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd.
What are your thoughts about the proposed law? Do you think the county needs to have its own regulations against synthetic drugs? Share your thoughts in the comments section.