During its Aug. 2 work session, the city council adopted a drug paraphernalia abatement resolution sponsored by Councilmember Gail Notti which prohibits the sale of any type of paraphernalia associated with or used for the consumption of illicit drugs.
The resolution reads that the McDonough Police Department has been made aware on several occasions that establishments within city limits actively sell and market drug paraphernalia “and related materials for the purpose of illegal drug use.”
These convenience stores, gas stations and otherwise are “located near schools, residential areas and other locations frequented by children and young adults, and employ advertising methods intended to attract children and youth adults,” the resolution continues.
Beginning Sept. 7, convenience stores, gas stations, tobacco stores and retail outlets will be notified the sale of drug paraphernalia will not be permitted within the city limits and all related merchandise must be cleared out.
The resolution specifies some of these items as pipes, rolling papers, screens, testing kits, clips and small spoons.
Stores continuing to sell these products will face penalties for first and second offenses of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Third offenders will face a felony charge that could carry up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
“Any drug paraphernalia discovered being marketed or sold after Sept. 7, 2012 is contraband and shall be seized by law enforcement officers and destroyed in accordance with state law,” the resolution reads.
The resolution passed unanimously.
“Gail, you have been on the forefront of this,” Mayor Billy Copeland said. “I applaud you for bringing to our attention.”
He said hopefully McDonough’s action to adopt this resolution will encourage other jurisdictions to follow suit.
Notti said she hopes other municipalities within Henry County will consider adopting a similar resolution.
She said while state law does not permit the sale of drug paraphernalia, local law enforcement was not allowed to enforce the state law.
“Now, because local governments can enforce, and that’s what’s closer to home, we have the opportunity to make our community have a sense of greater safety and better future for our youth adults and children,” Notti said.
She said she could not have accomplished establishing the resolution without the help of a few key McDonough residents, Police Chief Preston Dorsey, the city attorney, and the support of the mayor and council.
The resolution also required the support of the state legislature, for which Notti thanked Henry County’s local delegation.