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DA takes further step against synthetic drugs

June 23, 2011

Jefferson County District Attorney Jeff Burkett

BROOKVILLE — A week after Punxsutawney Borough Council sought to halt possible sales of bath salts and synthetic marijuana in the borough, District Attorney Jeff Burkett reported that he filed a civil action Monday, asking for an injunction banning the sale and possession of various forms of synthetic drugs that are sprouting up all over Pennsylvania.

According to Burkett, the Senate passed a bill June 15 that banned a number of different drugs, including synthetic marijuana and bath salts.
Gov. Tom Corbett signed the bill Thursday, but it will not go into effect for another 60 days.

Burkett sought this action in light of the legislation because a couple of people have had very severe reactions to a form of synthetic marijuana, known as K2.

“I just did not want to take the chance,” Burkett said. “I didn’t want to have another incident between now and when the law went into effect. I thought it was important that we take some precautionary steps.”
Furthermore, Burkett is aware of only one Jefferson County business — located on Allegheny Boulevard, in Brookville — that has sold synthetic marijuana.

Burkett asked for both a temporary hearing pending final hearing and a permanent injunction after a hearing.

“By the laws of the Commonwealth, the sale of synthetic marijuana has been and continues to be legal,” he said. “This will be the case until the recent legislation takes effect. Thus, this merchant was not doing anything legally wrong by offering it for sale. It is now legal because of our injunction.”

At council’s Tuesday meeting, Police Chief Ken Dworek said, “We should be OK until a state law comes out.”

In addition to synthetic marijuana, bath salts have also become a problem in the state, and Burkett said they are “very dangerous.”

However, he is not aware of any business that has sold bath salts in Jefferson County.

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