Pontiac, Michigan -- Oakland County has launched a website that will operate around the clock for retailers that want to pledge not to sell synthetic marijuana and other drugs. In return, as part of the initiative announced last Friday by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Sheriff Michael Bouchard, retailers will receive a window decal that will inform their customers that their store is safe from dangerous synthetic drugs.
To take the pledge online go to www.oakgov.com/health and click on the pledge button.
"We want to use the power of consumer choice to keep synthetic drugs off store shelves in Oakland County," said Patterson. "There is no enforcement mechanism in state law right now to remove synthetic drugs from store shelves. But our residents can reward stores that choose not to sell these potentially deadly drugs by giving them their business."
Bouchard agrees. "These synthetic drugs bring nothing but pain and sometimes death, so through these stickers we will support those companies that refuse to sell and punish those that continue," he said.
In support of Oakland County's pledge program, the Farmington Hills Fire Department, Novi Public Safety and the Oakland County Sheriff substations will actively seek pledges and issue the decals to businesses in their jurisdictions that comply.
Oakland County has also been contacted by a number of retailers, including a Livonia gas station that asked to take the pledge and receive a decal. Other government and non-government entities from around Michigan also have contacted Oakland County inquiring about its pledge program.
Media have inquired whether Oakland County will go the route of declaring synthetic drugs an "imminent danger." Until the State of Michigan passes a synthetic drug law, Oakland County sees public education and applied public pressure as a more effective means to remove synthetic drugs from store shelves than an “imminent danger” order. It is the standard practice among public health professionals that public health education has the greatest impact on the community at large to make wide scale changes in behavior. When the State of Michigan passes new synthetic drug legislation, Oakland County will enforce the law to its fullest extent.
In addition, under Michigan's Public Health Code "imminent danger" is reserved for conditions including diseases or practices that the public cannot protect themselves from through their own choices. Utilizing “imminent danger” in any other manor diminishes the intent of the law. Plus, Under Public Act 139 county officials do not have the legal authority to ban substances by fiat.
For media inquiries only, please contact Bill Mullan, Media and Communications Officer, at (248) 858-1048.