Saugerties wants to ban pipes and synthetic drugs

A young girl’s desire to purchase an attractive glass pipe set a series of events in motion that could ban the sale of pipes marketed for tobacco use but often used to smoke marijuana or crack, as well as a variety of legal mild-altering substances in both the village and town.

Speaking at the March 7 Town Board meeting, Saugerties Supervisor Kelly Myers said her daughter spotted a colorful pipe at the Speedy Mart convenience store on Main St. and asked if she could have one — for its aesthetics, not its utility. (Artisans also use a similar technique to produce glass jewelry.)

This got Myers thinking: should we really allow such products to be displayed in convenience stores? She didn’t think so, and being the most powerful elected official in Saugerties, she was in a position to do something about it.


The Town Board last week introduced a law prohibiting the sale, possession, or distribution of products containing synthetic drugs and synthetic cannabinoid (marijuana) in the town of Saugerties. In what Myers said will be “an historic first,” the board and village will hold a joint public hearing on the substance law tentatively scheduled for March 21.

A follow-up law prohibiting the sale of drug paraphernalia (pipes and other items now on sale in the village and town) that can be used in consuming the soon-to-be prohibited substances will be introduced at the Town Board’s April meeting.


Barely legal

The products are diverse. They include: herbal incense, K2, Spice, Spice Gold, Hayze, Spike 99, Zohan, Genie, Yucatan Fire, Funky Monkey, California Dreams, and Train Wreck.

Deputy police chief Joe Sinagra said the police department’s schools resource officer reported students in the schools are using these substances, while others are talking about possibly using them.

“Kids are already doing these synthetic drugs in Saugerties,” Sinagra said.

Safety is a big concern. Myers said she has talked to Diaz Ambulance Squad, which covers the town. She was told EMTs have responded to multiple calls of Saugerties youth suffering from health issues as a result of using the products.

Sinagra said the law being discussed by the town and village boards is similar to national legislation supported by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

He said he expects the laws to be tested in court. Similar local laws in other communities in New York State have been challenged and upheld, he said.

Violation of the law would result in – first offense – a fine not to exceed $250, second offense – a fine of not less than $500, and third offense – fine not to exceed $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to one year.


Shop owners react

Doug Nolan, vice president of the corporation that owns Smokers Choice, contradicting Sinagra, said similar local bans have not been successful. His company would probably fight any attempt by Saugerties to ban the sale of these items.

Nolan said the company, located in Rock Hill in Sullivan County, owns 66 shops statewide.

Speedy Mart owner Harry Barot said his shop follows the law closely, and pointed to a conspicuous sign banning sale of tobacco, pipes and any other item in question to anyone under age 18. If the town and village passed the law he’d promptly comply.


There are 17 comments

  1. Darlene Shapiro

    Not for nothing…but they appear to be dildos. Not really used for smoking. Have you guys been Punked?

  2. David Radovanovic

    The sale of phallic shaped smoke pipes and “barely-legal” substances are legal. However naive children will be, there will always be someone trying to take advantage of them. The US economy is built on the freedom to commercialize everything, anything and anyone regardless of ethics. When a politician (Ms. Meyers) makes it a personal crusade to right the wrongs of capitalism, beware of the results. Nevertheless, it should be entertaining to watch.

  3. MD

    Kill more business in the town and village, make it harder for the shop keepers to make money, undermine the tax base even more….great idea! This is not going to stop anyone (including kids) from buying and using these products for whatever suites their pleasure….they will find it somewhere else.

    Let’s be realistic! Is the town going to make the internet illegal because it makes porn accessible too. I bet TimeWarner has a lobby group that won’t let that happen, but the poor shop keeper in the village is at mercy of the Suagerties morality police.

    Maybe families should make these decisions for themselves. We do not need town officials telling its residents how to live their lives, what is and is not acceptable etc.

    Please use your time to focus on things that matter and stop creating problems that don’t exist.

  4. Derek

    Someone should ask Diaz Ambulance how many calls they get for minors experiencing health issues with regards to the consumption of another legal substance – alcohol. And if, as I strongly suspect, they get *orders of magnitude* more calls about drunk-ass kids, then I expect them to attack — with equal fervor — the sale of alcohol within town limits.

  5. Debra

    I applaude our town supervisor for taking a stance against drugs in our town. I’m not too worried about “killing more business” as MD put it. There are plenty of other things that Smoker’s Choice and Speedy Mart can sell besides drug parapheralia.

  6. Zack

    People will always find a way to get these items, killing a business just because someone smoked too much K2 isn’t enough of a justifiable reason to lose more people jobs. Even if they did close down Smoker’s Choice, anyone who really wanted ‘spice’ could just go to any other head-shop in 30 miles and do the exact same thing. This is just some left over panic about ‘spice’ and ‘bathsalts’ thats catching wind here. People are going to do whatever they damn well want to do, regardless of what anyone says.
    But as MD said above:
    “Maybe families should make these decisions for themselves. We do not need town officials telling its residents how to live their lives, what is and is not acceptable etc.

    Please use your time to focus on things that matter and stop creating problems that don’t exist.”


  7. oakledge

    Wow… you guys are some bunch…..defending the sale of drugs that make kids sick …in the name of commerce and supporting local head shop businesses?? Gimme a break. So, you’re saying apparently it’s ok, to give kids brain damage, as long as local stores can profit from it?

  8. MD


    You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. For one, they are not drugs! alcohol is a drug, should we ban that too? Only adults can buy these products….no need to say more

  9. jennifer

    MD, Keep posting. The more you write, the more credence everyone else’s comments have. So, which store do you own?

  10. Pharmacist

    “To give kids brain damage”

    Do some research, synethetic cannibinoids cannot cause brain damage, psychosis, multi-system organ failure, hallucinations, heart attacks, or death. These “experts” myers refers to do not exist and this law is entirely filled with farce information. Many of these cannibiniods have been around since as early as 1941, with the majority being synthesized in the 1970s and 80s.. all created by credible pharmaceutical companies and iv-league university chemists with PHD’s in sophisticated laboratories, for their medical purpose. Most, if not all of the synthetic cannibinoids to date aren’t structurally related to THC or derived from the cannabis plant, but are chemicals that are partial, or full agonists/antagonists with differeing affinity and selectivtiy for the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, noted CB1 and CB2, and the putative “CB3” receptor. Now also, most if not all of the synthetic cannibinoids have neuroprotective properties, some which have gone through phase 1 studies and shown actual reversal of what was to previously be considered permanent brain damage. Some have reached Phase II, Phase III, and Phase IV and others are already marketed in the pharmaceutical world for example Dronabinol(Marinol), Nabilone(Cesamet), Sativex, and Rimonabant (SR141716). Therapeutic applications of these synthetic cannibinoids include but are not limited to anti-emetics, neuroprotective medicines, appetite stimulants, analgesia, anti-obesity, neuropathic pain, muscle spasms, anxiety disorders, PTSD and other stress disorders, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, immune system disorders, and many others. They provide relief to patients with conditions such as AIDS, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Glaucoma, and many others ailments that could possibly be reversed treated or now become bearable which was previously unobtainable with other medicines. As previously stated synethetic cannabinoids are nothing new and have been around for ages. Yes, the purpose of creation was for medicinal purposes but as any chemical with desirable effects the use has also become widely recreational. The herbal smoke blends with added synthetic cannabinoid chemicals are also nothing new and have been around for over a decade, but have notable gained popularity in the past few years. The DEA was very aware of this, way before it became a problem of any sorts and have looked into it for quite some time now. The DEA analyzed multiple smoke blends to come across hundreds of different synthetic cannabinoids being used. In march 2011, the DEA classified 5 synthetic cannabinoids as a Schedule I illicit substance, for good reason. These 5 cannabinoids, unlike all other synthetic cannabinoids to date, have a potency that is considered to be from anywhere around 45x to 800x that of THC, a natural and the active ingredient in marijuana. These 5 cannabinoids have a very small active dose so therefore in even those tolerant to marijauna, they produced effects which were undesired and uncomfortable, causing anxiety and panic attacks in some users. The smoke blends manufactured after the DEA ban of the 5 chemicals, produce effects which are lighter and last a shorter duration than THC. Mrs. Myers is highly misinformed with all her allegations and false statements regarding the substance. This is nothing but a historical repeat of the salem witch trials combined with the prohibition of alcohol. As previously commented by others, banning this will not stop anybody from getting high. If people want to get high they will. Where theres a will theres a way. These smoke blends are regulated to be sold to only adults over the age of 18 and not to minors, yet the law is targeted for the children’s safety. With the removal of this ‘relatively’ safe smoking blend, anybody with the will will turn to other resources. I could list about 20-25 other ways in which a child under the age of 18 could legally get high on over the counter products, that list expands to about 40 different substances with the addition of the internet, and if you are over the age of 18 or better yet 21 there are eaisly about 50-60 different ways you could legally get high. Of the 20-25 ways a child can achieve some sort of euphoria, about of half of them can be lethal with a handful being highly deadly. Should i even begin to start on how easy it is for anyone under the age of 21 or 18 to obtain alcohol and how alcohol is the single most lethal substance known to man and one of only two drugs in which the withdrawals from can kill you? Now people.. Im not going to take this any further here, but please do some research and stand up at the public hearing against Mrs. Myers and her personal political agenda.

  11. Pharmacist


    The banning of this substance wont only turn people to other legal alternatives, it will turn them to illegal substances. It will bring them out of a legal, safe, and friendly environment in the convenience of the smoke shop or gas station and force them into the illegal and dangerous underground black market buying from drug dealers and gang members. As i previously stated this substance is light compared to marijuana, and unlike marijuana it carries the property of being legal thus it holds no fear for repercussion of sales or possession. Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutic substances known to man, and considered to be one of the least intoxicating of drugs by many. Slowly but surely marijuana will one day also be legalized, but that is a whole separate discussion and has no place here. Would Mrs. Myers push to ban the sale of marijuana if it were legalized?

  12. charlie the tuna

    the point is now moot, the state legislature voted today to make these substances illegal in the State of New York.

  13. jennifer

    To everyone reading this, please remember that just because someone calls themself a pharmacist, it doesn’t mean they are. I wrote an equally long comment for this subject and for some reason it did not make it to the page. I urge you to do your own research into these substances. I assure you that you will find a tremendous amount available that details exactly how dangerous these substances are.

    Ms Myers should be applauded for taking her responsibility to ALL of the people of Saugerties seriously by addressing this growing health concern.

  14. Pharmacist

    You urge them to do their own research, but do none of your own. Repeating what the news reports is NOT research, please go back to school because you obviously missed out on how to do proper research from scholarly journals and credible sources. I too urge everyone to do their own research, from factual sources not subjective opinionated news reports. What we should be concerned about is alcohol and what illegal alternative the people who want to get high are going to turn to next, because with a will you will always find a way, no matter what. Banning this will only cause more problems, guaranteed.

  15. jennifer

    I actually did extremely well in research and do understand the difference between scholarly journals and news reports, Mr. Pharmacist. I hope everyone will choose to educate themselves about anything they decide to put in to their bodies-both legal and illegal.

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