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Lewis takes first step to ban ‘bath salts’

March 5, 2013
By John Wickline - Upshur Bureau Chief , The Inter-Mountain

The Lewis County Commission took the first step in banning the sale and possession of synthetic drugs in the county, the move coming just days after a self-titled "hippy" store began setting up shop in the county seat.

Mom and Pop's Hippy Shop, which was formerly in neighboring Buckhannon, has a sign outside of its new location along U.S. 33 in Weston. It closed in Buckhannon soon after that city council implemented a ban on synthetic drugs, despite its owners' claims that what the store was selling was legal in West Virginia.

"(The Lewis County) ordinance has nothing to do with them," Lewis County Commission president Pat Boyle said. "It just happened at the same time."

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photo by John Wickline
Mom and Pop’s Hippy Shop, which was formerly located in neighboring Buckhannon, has relocated to U.S. 33 in Weston.

The proposed ordinance seeks to prohibit the sale, offering, distribution, delivery, trading, barter or giving away any synthetic cannabinoid, substituted cathinones or any substance marketed as synthetic drugs within the county's borders.

Labeling materials as "not for human consumption" would not exempt a person or store owner from being in violation of the ordinance, should it be adopted.

The ordinance would also prohibit people from selling land and renting or leasing property to those involved in selling products which contain the banned chemicals.

The ordinance will up for its first reading at the March 25 meeting. Three readings and a public hearing must be done before the ordinance could go into effect.

Despite a sign saying Mom and Pop's Hippy Shop was open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., the store was locked Monday, and the owners could not be reached for comment.

"This is to safeguard our community," Lewis County Sheriff Adam Gissy said. "The last thing we want to do is allow people to come into our community and sell this stuff."

Boyle said the inventory at such stores may be perfectly legal, but added that it has a hurtful impact on the population.

"We're concerned with the kind of traffic it brings into town," he said. "It's nothing but a source of trouble. We don't want that element here. We don't want to get that started."



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