ALPENA - The Alpena Municipal Council voted to allow City Attorney Bill Pfeifer to explore possible restrictions to the use and sale of synthetic drugs in the city during Monday's meeting. After a presentation from Alpena County Prosecutor Ed Black and Assistant Prosecutor Russ Rhynard about what is being done to battle the dangerous, but legal drugs, the council decided it wanted to take measures that would make it more difficult for them to be obtained.
Councilman Dave Karschnick, who proposed the move, said the problem is growing locally and a stance must be made now to keep the issue at bay. Black agreed and said if the city were to get some sort of ordinance in place, it would be among the leaders in the state in taking aggressive steps to fight the drugs.
"There are things being done at the federal level and the state level, but the problem is they take time and they will be challenged," Black said. "This would take it to another level, and right now Alpena is kind of referred to as a leader in trying to get a handle on this. If you do this you will obviously be the leaders. You would have the support from my office in this matter if you choose to do this."
Alpena Police Chief Joel Jett agreed to pay to have 500 17x11 posters made for local businesses to display that have slogans informing customers they do not sell the drugs, and the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce will distribute them to the stores. Karschnick said it is part of a community outreach program to inform consumers of the issue, as well as reward local merchants who don't have the drug on their shelf. Pfeifer said he would look into what steps can be taken to pressure the sale of the drugs, but added that because they are legal in Michigan, enforcement could be an issue and liability a concern.
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