NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Northbridge businesses are put on notice – the sale of drug paraphernalia and synthetic marijuana will be banned beginning Jan. 1.
The Board of Health unanimously adopted the regulations after a public hearing held Tuesday and attended by Police Chief Walter Warchol and Detective Sgt. John Ouillette.
Warchol said he suggested the ban after hearing from other communities that Northbridge had become the “go-to’’ town to purchase synthetic marijuana, often called “bath salts,” which are made of various chemicals.
“We don’t want that reputation,’’ he said.
Vera’s Variety Store at Providence Road and Church Street was mentioned specifically by the Board of Health, with the product displayed on its counter. “We’ve had a lot of complaints,’’ Warchol said.
The synthetic product, though not illegal to possess, is a serious health threat to the kids who smoke it, Ouillette said.
Board of Health Chairman Paul McKeon expressed frustration that no parents attended the hearing.
The banned products, which include blunt wrappers, rosebud glass tubes and other nontraditional tobacco smoking apparatus, will be confiscated and violators fined $300 for the first offense. Violators won't be arrested.
Additional offenses, after public hearings, could lead to revocation of permits issued by the Board of Health.
In addition to banning the sale of “any cannabimimetic agent,’’ the regulation bans inhaling or ingesting any product that “induce the symptoms of intoxication, elation, euphoria, dizziness, excitement, irrational behavior, exhilaration, paralysis, stupefaction or dulling of the senses or nervous system.”
The regulations, Warchol said, “are in the best interest of the town of Northbridge.’’
The Police Department will be the primary enforcement agent.