Business Owners in the Crossfire as Ohio Cracks Down on Synthetic Drugs
In November of 2012, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office, working together with law enforcement agencies, raided five locations in multiple counties as part of an effort to crack down on the distribution of the synthetic drugs called bath salts.
But what, exactly, are bath salts? Despite their innocent-sounding name, bath salts are hallucinogenic drugs with effects similar to amphetamines and cocaine. Severe psychosis and even deaths have been reported among users. The drugs are attractively packaged and commonly sold in neighborhood smoke shops and markets.
In an article in the Columbus Dispatch, DeWine was quoted as stating, “We gave business owners fair warning that if we found synthetic drugs in their stores there would be consequences, and now we are following through with that promise.”
For the most recent raid, DeWine’s office zeroed in on retail locations in Clark, Montgomery and Guernsey counties. At least one of the storeowners now faces three felony counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.
According to the Dispatch report, the state is also charging the business owners with “engaging in unfair, deceptive and unconscionable acts” for selling illegal drugs claimed to be legal products.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has also been raiding makers and sellers of bath salts and synthetic marijuana. Whether at the federal, state or local level, drug charges carry the potential for serious consequences. In the case of business owners, the subsequent charges could lead to the closing of their businesses – potentially costing them both their freedom and their family’s livelihood.