Ashland Hosts Roundtable to Address Synthetic Marijuana Problem

By KBJR News 1

May 3, 2013 Updated May 3, 2013 at 6:15 PM CDT

Ashland, WI (NNCNOW.com)-- Synthetic drug use is affecting the south shore community of Ashland, Wisconsin.

City leaders, state lawmakers and experts in the medical and law enforcement fields feel strongly that the negative influence of synthetic substance abuse needs to be addressed now.

The synthetic sales at the local head shop J.C. Moon drew close to 50 community members to Ashland's City Hall to brainstorm ideas to stop it.

"Right now we're kind of stuck. We're saying this is harmful yet it's legal," said Bayfield County Sheriff Paul Susenka at the roundtable discussion.

The consensus is the attitudes and state laws need to change.

"We have to educate the young very early on so when they get this opportunity, a good part of them can say no, and we'll have enforcement and rehabilitation on the other hand," said Ashland Mayor Bill Whalen. "Drug use is moving into the main stream and it's becoming acceptable."

State Senator Bob Jauch says new synthetics legislation is in the works that adds more chemicals to the banned list and gives law enforcement more tools.

But with the chemists staying one-step ahead of legislation by tweaking chemical structures, lawmakers say new legislation will have to have to be creative and harsh.

The owner of J.C. Moon did not want to do an on-camera interview and only said it's his right to sell whatever is legal.

Zach Vavricka

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