Sat, Dec. 07

Editorial: Credibility sadly lacking following arrests on bath salts

It’s not as if the owners and management of The Don’s Smoke Shop in Cottonwood or the Black Pearl in Cornville were the models for credibility to begin with.

The two stores both gained attention in recent months for being a retail outlet for the synthetic designer drugs commonly known as bath salts.

Bath salts first came to our attention here in the Verde Valley when folks in Old Town began to protest that the wrappers for the drug were being littered throughout their neighborhood and especially in and around the Cottonwood Boys and Girls Club. This was more, though, than a litter problem. It was a drug problem, not unlike those we’ve been through before with everything from prescription drugs to methamphetamine.

According to Kim MacEachern, staff attorney at Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council, “Balt Salts” is a psychoactive substance with stimulant properties that occurs naturally in the plant khat. The effects of synthetic cathinones are similar to amphetamines like ecstasy and cocaine. People ingest bath salts to get high. They serve no other purpose.

In short order, Cottonwood adopted a city ordinance outlawing the sale and possession of bath salts and the State of Arizona followed suit to permanently remove the drugs from retail outlets in Arizona and criminalizes possession and use.

At about the same time, The Don’s Smoke Shop posted a sign on its window stating it would no longer be selling “8 Ballz Premium Glass Cleaner.”

A lot of people took that to mean The Don’s no longer would be selling bath salts. Smart move as they had been declared illegal both under city ordinance and Arizona State Law.

That, apparently, was not the case, as last week the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and the Partners Against Narcotic Trafficking Taskforce raided both businesses and arrested four employees on numerous charges including allegations of possession of dangerous drugs for sale. The investigation began after the agencies received tips that both locations were still secretly selling substances that included “bath salts” and “spice.”

It’s bad enough that we had to deal with this scourge on our community in the first place. To our credit, though, we’re a forgiving bunch and we were willing to live and let live after seeing that sign in the window.

You told us you weren’t going to do it any more, and we were willing to let it go and move on. Now, it seems we are victims of the old adage of “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.”

Now, we’re not nearly so forgiving.

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