Other views: Ban on synthetic weed should standA Fargo judge ruled last week that the state’s ban on synthetic marijuana and chemicals that mimic methamphetamines was bogus because the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy didn’t get the word out. Cass County District Court Judge Wickham Corwin missed that call.
By: The Bismarck Tribune, The Jamestown Sun
A Fargo judge ruled last week that the state’s ban on synthetic marijuana and chemicals that mimic methamphetamines was bogus because the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy didn’t get the word out.
Cass County District Court Judge Wickham Corwin missed that call.
The ban of Spark-20, Stardust and other substitutes for illegal drugs had been the subject of high-profile news stories and was the talk of the state back in February. Stores carrying those products reportedly pulled them from their shelves. After a comment period, the ban was forwarded from the pharmacy board to the Legislative Council so that the final rules on the ban could be published. It was also posted on the board of pharmacy’s website.
Corwin cites state law that reads that the pharmacy board “shall take appropriate measures to make interim final rules known to every person who may be affected by them.” That may leave notification up to interpretation, but the public discourse and knowledge related to what were legal drugs at the time was rather full.
The pharmacy board acted on the “products” after several people “consumed or injected themselves with Stardust,’ labeled and sold as an herbal bath salt, and ended up in the hospital. ...” There were several national news stories about synthetic marijuana, as well.
Seeing a threat to public health, the pharmacy board met in emergency session and banned the substances. It then followed with a hearing and comment period before the emergency ban became a part of law.
The pharmacy board was up front about the process. The story about the emergency meeting and ban was on the Feb. 26 Tribune front page. It was online. It was picked up by the Associated Press. It was a story that had legs. The word got out.
Unfortunately, people continue to mess with plants and chemicals searching for a legal high, circumventing the law, and, when that fails, violate the law. But the pharmacy board acted appropriately, including in making sure those “affected “ by the rules got the word. Those businesses that had been selling the “products” certainly got the word. People reading the state’s newspapers got the word. Anyone checking out the state’s laws got the word.
Corwin has created a loophole in the law where none had existed or ought to exist. Hopefully, other judges in the state will not follow his lead.