Lobbying at a Lake George Town Board meeting March 12 for a local ban on herbal incense, Joanne Gavin holds up news articles that describe criminal and psychotic behavior as well as serious health consequences associated with use of such substances.
A leader of a prominent local political organization has requested that the town board take action soon to enact a law to make synthetic marijuana, herbal incense and other similar substances illegal.
Joanne Gavin, a founder of the Lake George Citizens Group, gave a lengthy presentation Monday March 12 on the dangers of the substances which are now freely sold through “head shops” and tobacco stores.
She noted that such herbal smoking blends or “posh,” known by various trade names like “Wicked X,” can cause hallucinations, seizures, psychotic behavior, comas and has been blamed for prompting a variety of criminal actions.
“We need to pass a law now to get this poison off the shelves of our area stores,” she said, noting various news reports of teenagers afflicted by serious health problems and committing crimes while under the influence of herbal incense and synthetic marijuana.
Gavin called for the town board pass a local law soon banning the use or sale of such substances — while lobbying aggressively for a federal, statewide and county ban. She said local municipalities should work together and take the lead in establishing local laws prohibiting it.
She held up local news reports, in which law enforcement officials have said perpetrators of various crimes had used herbal incense.
Gavin said that the recent popularity of posh, which could trigger paranoia and unpredictable behavior, was likely related to a growing concern over criminal activity locally.
“A lot of people are saying they’re afraid of going out into the Village at night,” she said — referring to lake George.
She said a friend’s child had used the substance, and she had heard of the harmful effects.
“I have a friend who’s child was involved, and it changed his life,” she said. “It’s very, very important as citizens of this community for us to get this banned.”
Officials of the regional Council for Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse have said the use of “posh” is approaching epidemic levels.
Gavin noted that the Village of Fort Edward was now drafting a law to ban its sale. A public hearing is set for April on the proposed Fort Edward law.
Lake George Town Board member Fran Heinrich said she’d discussed the matter with staffers in U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer’s office, as well as officials in Fort Edward.
Lake George Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson indicated support for such a ban.
“We will press on with this,” he said.