Cuomo and Health Commissioner Nirav Shah deserve credit for taking such fast action. We also support U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer’s campaign to criminalize the substances nationally.
We in the Adirondacks, however, can be particularly proud that our county leaders, law enforcement officials and community activists have been leading the way on banning these dangerous substances.
In February, a group called Bringing Essex County Strengths Together — which included Elizabethtown-area students and youth advocates — met with area leaders, local politicians and law enforcement officials to warn them about the dangers associated with synthetic marijuana.
The meeting resulted in a campaign to urge area stores to voluntarily stop selling the substances. Key adult leaders in this effort were Essex County Community Resources Director Michael Mascarenas, Elizabethtown Social Center Director Arin Burdo, and Mac MacDevitt, community prevention coordinator of the Substance Abuse Prevention Team of Essex County.
In addition, credit goes to Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague and county Sheriff Richard Cutting, who demonstrated leadership in calling for a ban.
In Warren County, credit goes to Lake George citizen activist Joanne Gavin for urging the local town board to enact a ban, and not wait for federal and state authorities to take action.
Within days of Gavin’s plea, Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan and local state Trooper James West urged county supervisors to criminalize the sale, use or possession of the substances.
These supervisors, serving on the county Criminal Justice committee, endorsed a law that had been drafted by county Attorney Martin Auffredou and county Administrator Paul Dusek. The law is to come before the full Board of Supervisors this next week, and it is expected to receive unanimous support.
We applaud their swift response. Kudos also go to Hogan and county Sheriff Bud York and his staff.
Drugs remain the No. 1 destructive force tearing apart families as well as prompting criminal behavior, including violent crimes.
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