City works to stay ahead of growing synthetic drugs problem

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HARRISONVILLE, Mo. -- Synthetic drugs are sold under innocent names like “bath salts” and “incense.” Most states haven’t figured out how to deal with them, so some cities are jumping ahead and making local laws to deal with the dangerous drugs.

One store in Harrisonville is called Liquor Tobacco. It's a pretty good name and describes what they sell. Harrisonville police say they used to see something they conveniently left off the sign.

"'It's called cannabinoids and synthetic bath salts," Lieutenant Michael Prindle with the Harrisonville Police Department said.

The laws related to the latest designer drugs became necessary because synthetic drugs have posed a big problem in a little town.

"Some people have convulsions, it's put some people in the hospital. We get into to safety issues with the officers on the street having to restrain some people doing it," Lt. Prindle said.

Police say the Liquor Tobacco store was one of the places people were getting those synthetic drugs. When FOX 4 tried to speak with one of the store clerks, he said he didn't speak English.

Police say the clerk spoke English two weeks ago when they were buying the drugs in an undercover sting. Bags of what police say are synthetic marijuana taken from Tobacco Liquor and the business was shut down.

The Harrisonville City Council passed the law banning synthetic drugs in the city in September and the police went to every store that sold it with a warning.

"Provided them with a copy of the ordinance and actually had them sign a letter so they acknowledged they had received it," Lt. Prindle said.

Police say Tobacco Liquor was allowed to open up again because there is a new owner who is a relative of previous owner, Ricky Patel.

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