County to request more punishment for selling THC

Friday, January 20, 2012

From staff reports

Selling synthetic drugs ought to be a felony, according to a resolution set for Marshall County commissioners approval on Monday when it could be sent to state lawmakers.

"Synthetic marijuana and designer stimulants have created a public health problem," the resolution states, noting city police, sheriff's deputies and ambulance crews have seen the problem.

On Jan. 4, the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force raided two stores on Commerce Street where clerks were arrested on charges alleging they sold products presented as an old fashioned air freshener, potpourri of flower petals, but contained the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol.

In addition to allegedly selling a product with THC, the store clerks were charged with selling smoking paraphernalia such as specialty pipes including bongs and hookahs.

In Tennessee, "some of these products are being sold legally while some are covered under current legislation making them illegal," according to the resolution.

That state law made selling synthetic THC a misdemeanor, but that's not enough. If adopted by the commission and followed by lawmakers, the proposed resolution would "make the manufacturing, distribution and selling of synthetic drugs a felony in ... Tennessee."

Commissioner Kevin Vanhooser is scheduled to introduce the resolution to the commission for a vote during the monthly meeting that starts at 6 p.m. in the Marshall County Courthouse Annex at the corner of First Avenue South and East Commerce Street.

Commissioners are also being asked to:

* Authorize the sale of a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria by the Highway Department to the Sheriff's Department. This comes after the sheriff's newest cruiser crashed. Also noted by the resolution; Ford is terminating production of the Crown Vic cruisers.

* Changing the school budget to increase it by nearly $37,000, largely because workers compensation, property and casualty insurance premiums increased. An "incident" and a "lawsuit settlement" resulted in expenses that were not included in county spending plans. The additional funds are to come from the school budget's undesignated fund balance.

* Name the bridge over railroad tracks near the KFC restaurant in Lewisburg the Tim Mealer Memorial Bridge. He was part owner and operator of Mealer Trucking. Mealer, 51, died Nov. 10 of cancer.

* Name the bridge on Yell Road at Cheek Road as the Kevin Darnell Memorial Bridge. Darnell lived in the Yell Community for nearly a quarter century, "touched the lives of many people and will be missed," the resolution states. He died March 11.