LOWVILLE As expected, Lewis County legislators on Tuesday established a ban on synthetic drugs and a local development corporation intended to aid the countys hospital.
I cannot say how much I commend you for taking this action, Arlene S. Hall, executive director at Mountain View Prevention Services, told legislators prior to their vote.
Jennifer L. Jones, director of services at the Lewis County Department of Social Services, said her agencys caseworkers are often scared to go into homes because of synthetic drug use and, thankfully, have had police assistance.
These people are completely irrational when theyre on these drugs, Mrs. Jones said. Were dealing with it every day.
Lawmakers voted 10-0 to enact a law banning the possession or sale of chemical substances or compounds known as synthetic cocaine and marijuana.
Violation of the law, which is to take effect upon its filing with the state Department of State, is an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to one year in jail.
Legislators also voted 10-0 to create a nonprofit corporation that could borrow money to help cover Lewis County General Hospitals immediate operating losses without further draining county reserves, then pay it back over several years to lessen annual debt service costs.
While a couple of speakers expressed concern about the LDC ultimately leading to privatization, legislators tried to allay those fears.
The goal of the majority of the board is to turn things around so it can be a temporary fix, said Legislator Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan, chairman of the legislative Hospital Committee and member of the hospital Board of Managers.