NASHUA — Members of the city’s problem-oriented policing unit spent most of the day on Thursday conducting compliance checks at Nashua stores — making sure the synthetic cannabinoid “Smacked!” hasn’t surfaced in the Gate City.
In light of the dozens of overdoses taking place this week from “Smacked!” in Manchester and Concord, Nashua police are urging any store that carries synthetic marijuana to cease all sales and remove the items from store shelves immediately.
“We have not experienced what Manchester is experiencing, not to say that it can’t happen,” said Nashua Police Chief John Seusing.
Seusing said city police are educating store owners about the dangers of products such as “Smacked!,” bath salts, K2 and spice.
Nashua police may have been ahead of the game on the sale of synthetic marijuana, as they began curbing the problem when it first surfaced in the summer of 2012.
“Some of the store owners — at the time — played stupid,” said Lt. David Bailey, adding business owners insisted that the products were simply bath salts, incense or even glass cleaner.
Authorities provided stores with information about the synthetic drugs and their effects after there were several overdoses in the city two years ago. By taking a proactive approach and asking for “voluntary compliance,” Bailey said he hopes their efforts were successful.
Now, as other communities are dealing with a spike in “Smacked!” overdoses this week — with Manchester police tallying 44 overdoses since Monday — Nashua police say they are not having the same problem. “But, we are going to continue to be proactive,” said Seusing, who is optimistic that store owners will be cooperative, especially since some of them were pressured by city police two years ago and placed on notice about questionable product sales.
At the time, all of the stores agreed to stop selling the synthetic drugs.
Now, city police are urging citizens who are aware of a store or market that may be actively selling “Smacked!” or any brand of synthetic marijuana to inform authorities.
On Thursday, Gov. Maggie Hassan declared a State of Emergency in light of the many overdoses related to “Smacked!” Because of her declaration, local stores will be checked, and Nashua police will remove any “Smacked!” brand of synthetic marijuana.
While the governor’s declaration is specific to “Smacked!,” city police are reminding store owners that many of the synthetic marijuana and bath salt products have been proven unsafe for human consumption, and will again request that they be removed from store shelves.
“Store owners should also be aware that if they are found to be selling any federally banned substances, they will be prosecuted,” police said in a release.