Council Discusses Bill To Make Synthetic Cannabinoids Illegal In Frederick County

They also takes votes on amendments to the Monocacy Scenic River Plan.


Frederick, Md (KM). The sale, purchase and possession of synthetic cannabiniods would be illegal in Frederick County under a bill being considered by the County Council. The legislation is proposed by Councilwoman Jessical Fitzwater. “It’s something called synthetic marijuana but it doesn’t have the same affects as marijuana so it’s sort of a misnomer,” she says.

The legislation is similar to one passed in 2012 by the City of Frederick to go after  downtown businesses that  were selling these products, which go under the names of Scooby Snax, K2 and Spice. “So we did this rather quickly and came up with something. It was passed,” says former Frederick Police Chief Kim Dine, who spoke to the Council on Tuesday. “And I can tell  you literally within day, within days, we had shut down the businesses downtown, seized the product, and we were able to address other issues around town when they arose.”

Under the law passed in Frederick, a violator would be issued a criminal citation by police,according to Alderwoman Kelly Russell. “The idea of the criminal citation was to charge the person which would require their appearance in court, just like any other criminal charge, only it’s charged on the citation. And give us the ability to seize anything they had in their possession,”; she said. The materials would be sent to the State Police Crime Lab for analysis.

Alderwoman Russell said in many cases, if the substances turned out to be illegal, the State’s Attorney’s Office would drop the criminal citation offense, and  charge the suspect under the state’s law regarding drugs. She says no one has ever been prosecuted  under the city’s ordinance.

Many manufacturers often make subtle changes to their product so that it may not show up on the list of Controlled Dangerous Substances. But Dine said the city’s law addresses that. “Basically to include no matter how they changed the chemical makeup, we wrote enough flexibility in there to still be able to take legal action,” he says. “Now whether that ultimately holds up long term for prosecution is always an issue in any type of drug case where you need testing and testimony and those kinds of things.”

Alderwoman Russell says these products may not be on the list of Controlled Dangerous Substances, but that doesn’t  mean they’re safe to use.

The Council said it wanted to hear from Sheriff Chuck Jenkins and State’s Attorney Charlie Smith before formally  introducing this bill.

Monocacy Scenic River Management Plan.

On another topic, the Council approved several amendments to the Monocacy Scenic River Management Plan, but there was some heated moments during the discussion.

The amendments introduced by Council Vice President MC Keegan-Ayer were recommended by the Planning Commission. She says they’re also needed by the Monocacy Scenic River Advisory Board as it drafts a plan for the waterway. Councilman Kirby Delauter felt this was not necessary. “So we have constituents out there that are directly affected by this asking ‘why are we’re voting on it tonight? Why do you let the River Board do their job?’ And we’re ignoring that. And I don’t understand why we’re ignoring the constituents this directly affects,” he said.

“I don’t see this as ignoring constituents. I think this is part of our job as well,” Keegan-Ayer responded. “The Planning Commission made a recommendation to us. We are addressing that recommendation. The River Board is still moving ahead.”

Some of the most heated discussion came when Councilman Billy Shreve said many property owners along the River were concerned about their private property rights, and were not informed that the Council was taking a vote on Tuesday. He wanted it postponed until the Monocacy Scenic River Advisory Board finished its job. “Our River Board members have asked us for direction, ” Keegan-Ayer said. “Our property owners have asked us to stay out of it,” Shreve responded. “And there are more property owners than  River Board members and most River Board members don’t own property along the River.”

Several recommendations approved by the Council would encourage farmers to use best management practices on their properties in order to preserve the River. Another says any land acquired for public open space, parks or habitat and resource protection would by purchased from willing property owners.


By Kevin McManus