Fulton Nears Citywide Synthetic Drug Ban

The city of Fulton is closing in on having its own law to ban the sale and possession of synthetic drugs and bath salts.

City lawmakers this week scheduled a public hearing for September 4 on a proposed ordinance.  They can adopt the local law at the end of the public hearing.

Mayor Ronald Woodward said the ordinance was modeled after the one adopted recently by the city of Syracuse.

The cities of Rome and Utica have also adopted local laws to ban the sale of synthetic drugs.

The local ordinances are necessary, officials have argued, because there is no state law in place yet to ban these new drugs.  Several bills are competing for attention in Albany.

There is a new federal law, which was used in July’s raid on Fulton’s 420 Emporium, but a state or local law would give local police the ability to act without having to wait for federal help.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced with much fanfare this week a new regulation through the state Health Department that penalizes the sale or possession with intent to sell of synthetic drugs.

Said Cuomo at news conferences in Buffalo, Syracuse and New York City: “The actions we are announcing today attack the problem by helping our law enforcement officers enforce the rules, expanding the list of banned substances used to manufacture bath salts, and imposing tougher penalties so those who sell these drugs are held accountable.”

But the stiffest penalty under the new regulation — 15 days in jail and a fine — may not provide much of a deterrent.  And law enforcement sources tell Oswego County Today.com that the state has provided no guidance on how to use the new regulation.

The city’s proposed ordinance bans a long list of synthetic compounds, in line with the new federal ban.

Possessing or selling synthetic drugs will be a misdemeanor under the ordinance, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.


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