Residents Start Campaign Against Spice Retailers in White Lake
In an effort to remove the synthetic marijuana from the area, local residents are asking people to boycott businesses selling Spice in White Lake.
At least two residents have started a fight against Spice in White Lake, and they're asking residents to join in on a boycott of local businesses that sell the synthetic marijuana to area kids.
"While I am very encouraged by the recent progress in getting Spice off of the shelves at the state level, a recent article in another publication quoted Mike Kowall as saying that White Lake was able to pressure businesses in our township to stop selling Spice," Jeff Long, a White Lake resident and Huron Valley Schools board member said. "Unfortunately, he is mistaken, it seems that most party stores and gas stations in White Lake still sell, or have resumed selling, this dangerous 'fake pot' to anyone with the money."
The synthetic drug is becoming a problem in the schools, according to officials, and several parents have been left wondering what can be done.
"This type of synthetic marijuana is extremely dangerous," White Lake Police Chief Ed Harris said. "There has been movement to introduce new legislation to ban all forms of this substance, however it is still pending. I would strongly recommend everyone contact their respective state representatives and senators to urge the passage of such legislation."
Currently, anyone 18 or older can purchase Spice.
"We are fully aware of Spice, and have had quite a few instances, maybe 5-10, of students in possession," Lakeland Principal Paul Gmelin said. "Spice is dangerous and a problem not only in schools but also the entire community."
It is currently against district and school policy for students, even those who can legally buy it, to have the product on school property.
The code of conduct states, "Students are not to be in possession of ... illegal drugs including counterfeits or look-a-likes in school. The selling, supplying, delivering, arranging for the sale of, possession of amounts for sale, sharing or distribution of drug paraphernalia ... or look-a-like substances that are misrepresented as drugs is prohibited."
Students caught with possession of Spice are subject to suspension, administrative intervention or expulsion, depending on the circumstances.
Gmelin said when it comes to combating Spice in the schools and community, education is the key.
"My social worker is sharing information with parents and working with students individually and in groups to educate them about the dangers of the drug," he said. "The frustrating part at this time is that it's legal for persons over 18, and it's easy to obtain if you are underage. We also send information out frequently on our list serv, and my police liaison has contacted local businesses who reportedly are selling Spice to our kids."
Residents, like Long, are asking that parents join in and boycott Spice retailers.
"I think it's time to put together a boycott list of the businesses that are endangering our kids," he said. "I would submit the first as the Bogie Lake/M-59 Shell, walk in to the counter and see what is still for sale in White Lake and see what we need to stop."
Another resident, Janet Wheaton Terry, agrees, "I would like to know what people think about local store owners selling K2/Spice like the Shell station at 59 and Bogie Lake Road and The Gin Mill at Pontiac Lake Road and 59 because it is legal, and not caring about the immense harm it is doing to our youth and young adults," she said. "I would ask that our community join together and boycott these dealers and tell them that we will not stand for it, not in our community."
Terry, a certified addiction counselor, said she encourages parents to get informed.
"Spend your money at a store that does not deal with this drug," she said.
Spice is currently sold at several gas stations in White Lake, but not every retailer puts the product on display. Some stores opt to keep Spice behind the counter, something School Liaison Police Officer Jon Kirken said he hopes other stores will do.
"It's a legal drug, it can be sold and displayed just like tobacco or alcohol," he said. "While I don't like is the fact that these businesses are selling it, I would encourage them to keep it behind their counters and sell it only when asked to get it, similar to cigarettes."
In some stores, massive displays are set up Kirken said.
"I've talked to a few of the stores," he said. "I asked why they keep selling it to kids if they know it's dangerous, one manager said they make $700-$800 a day selling Spice. I don't know how accurate that figure is for every retailer in White Lake, but it shows just how popular Spice is in the community."
Kirken said it's hard for the police to do anything about the situation because the drug is legal. However, Kirken, like Chief Harris, recommends parents talk to their legislators to get the drug banned all together.
"Even if we were to get rid of it in White Lake, it'd still be available in other places and the kids would get it," he said. "Parents need to pay attention to their kids and talk to them about the dangers of Spice. Education and communication can go a long way."
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