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Fernandina Beach pushes for stricter crackdown on synthetic drugs, paraphernalia

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Updated: 9/19/2013 8:17 pm
FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. -- Smoking pipes, grinders and small baggies are all on a drug dealer's shopping list and being sold at local convenient stores where children have access to them.

"Maybe it's legal, but I think it's inappropriate," said Fernandina Beach City Commissioner Ed Boner.

Boner is on a mission. He wants to ban the possession and sale of synthetic drugs like Spice, K2, and dozens of others like G20 and Mystery.

Action News obtained the draft of an ordinance that was submitted to the city attorney. Some say this will be more effective than state law because it allows local law enforcement to fine an individual or business $500 per gram.

"You're not arresting someone and putting them in jail, you're just fining them. At the end of the day that's all you're trying to do, is make it really unpleasant to bring synthetic drugs into the community," said Boner.

With our cameras rolling, we confronted several convenience store owners in Fernandina Beach with the city's new plan. One store clerk said,

"We don't sell that at all." Instead we got the owner on the phone, who said he didn't think selling grinders was illegal yet. He also said he got rid of the pipes and synthetic drugs.

"There are stores that may not have it visible in store but kids can go in and ask for a particular thing," said Kerrie Albert, Director director of Prevention Services. The Nassau Alcohol Crime Drugs and Abatement Coalition gets its info right from local teens.

"About 5 percent of our high school students reported using it within the last 30 days, the last time we did a survey for 2012," said Albert.

We found out that percentage is higher than the state average, a disappointing number that the city says they hope will drop once they crack down on the drug's accessibility.
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