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Jonesborough businesses stop selling synthetic drugs

Synthetic drugs are no longer being sold in Jonesborough, and likely won’t be finding their way back onto store shelves any time soon.
Jonesborough police recently visited nearly every store within town limits to determine just how many places were selling drugs.
According to Jonesborough Police Chief Matt Hawkins, two businesses within town limits were selling them, but have since agreed to stop.
“We had been selling them for a few months,” said Selienna Presnell, manager of Tri-City Wholesale Tobacco, 104 E. Jackson Blvd. “People were coming in for them. Some of them had their favorite kinds, others weren’t as particular.”
According to Presnell, the owner of the store pulled the items off the shelf about two weeks ago.
“People are still coming in and asking for it,” Presnell said. “Some are upset when they find out we don’t carry it anymore.”
Also no longer carrying synthetic drugs is Uncle Dan’s Gashouse, 101 W. Jackson Blvd.
Hawkins said both businesses were fully cooperative in ceasing to sell synthetic drugs.
“They understood where we were coming from and we understood where they were coming from – they are businessmen,” Hawkins said. “But they agreed to take the products off the shelves because they want to be a part of the solution. This is an epidemic.”
Presnell said it is “a relief” not to have the products in the store anymore.
“I personally tried to avoid selling it,” she said. “If I found out somebody who purchased it here, if something happened to them, I don’t know if I could live with myself.”
Getting the two businesses to take the products off the shelf was just the beginning of the town’s battle plan to fight synthetic drugs.
At a called Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting last week, members of the BMA voted on final reading to enact a temporary moratorium on the sale or distribution of synthetic drugs.
“It’s something that couldn’t come soon enough,” said Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe. “This is an epidemic that we certainly need to be vigilant in regards to.”
 That moratorium, which garnered unanimous approval from BMA members, will be in effect until town leaders decide whether safety concerns dictate the sale of such drugs should be limited to a certain zone or zones. In approving the temporary moratorium, BMA members also initiated a review by the town’s Planning Commission of safety and congestion concerns related to the use and sale of synthetic drugs.
“We intend to enforce this moratorium,” said Bob Browning, town administrator. “We’ll do whatever is necessary.”
It may not be necessary for the town to do anything following their study. State legislators are considering banning the sale of synthetic drugs across the entire state. Several bills are currently in legislators’ hands, but it is likely to take until at least July for a law to be put into place. Town leaders expect to return to the BMA by July 15 with results from their study.