Pasco officials propose new ordinance to crack down on spice and other synthetic drugs

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. - Many efforts have been made to get local convenience stores to stop selling synthetic drugs like K2 and Spice, but those who make it and sell it have always tried to stay one step ahead of the law.

But today, officials in Pasco County will look over a proposed ordinance to get to keep it permanently off the shelves.

A clerk caught on Pasco deputy's undercover video taken at a New Port Richey convenience store was arrested for selling synthetic drugs, although he has pleaded not guilty.

During that raid in August, authorities realized even if products like K2 and Spice weren't labeled or being sold out in the open, stores still had them available for those who asked.

The new ordinance would hold store owners accountable for selling products that are mislabeled.  Many synthetic drugs don't contain a list of ingredients, or they are displayed as something that they aren't, like potpourri for example.

Lindsay Moore is an attorney with the Sheriff's Office. She was one of those involved in drafting a new ordinance for Pasco County designed to try and close some of the legal loopholes.

"People that are determined to sell it will constantly find new ways," Moore said.

State law has tried to ban the actual ingredients in these synthetic drugs. But that hasn't worked. The manufacturers keep changing what's inside, so Pasco County has decided to go a different route.

"We are going more after the packaging and labeling under the federal packaging and labeling standards," Moore said.

There are federal and state packaging laws.  So if stores are selling something like potpourri, it better list the ingredients and have information about who is making it.

No longer will just putting 'not for human consumption' on the label be enough.

"Obviously when you go into these stores and clerks are trying to sell them to people by telling them, 'this will get you high,' it's obvious that even though the package says 'not for human consumption' that's the intention of it," Moore said.

The ordinance also makes each package a separate violation, each carrying a $500 fine.

The Pasco County Commission will hear the details at Tuesday's board meeting.

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