I would like to pose a question to the citizens of Zachary. “Would you provide financial support to a person or business selling dangerous drugs that reach the hands of our children and have been found in our schools?” If your response to this question is that you would not support this activity, then continue reading because that is what we are doing on a daily basis. Numerous stores - yes, believe it or not - legitimate businesses in our community are selling what is known as synthetic marijuana or “legal weed." These substances are labeled as incense or potpourri with names like “Matrix," “Voo-Doo," or "Colombian” and numerous others. These store owners are aware that these substances are not being used to make the air smell better but rather are being used as a drug. Some of the substances have been made illegal, but the laws have not caught up with all of them yet. Some are also selling a synthetic stimulant product with names like “Cloud 9” saying they are bath salts. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t believe many people go to their liquor store or gas station to purchase their bath supplies. Do they really think we are that naХve? The Governor has made emergency provisions making these substances illegal. These business owners are aware of what they are doing and they are profiting from the drugs no differently than the person standing on the street corner selling crack cocaine or marijuana. The only difference is that they have a legitimate business building in which they conduct their nefarious activity. They are aware that these substances are manufactured, packaged and sold in a manner to circumvent our drug laws. In the conversations I have had with these dealers they justify their activity by pointing out that it is legal to sell these products. There are many things that are legal but that does not mean they are right.
In the United States we, at least for now, are blessed with a form of government where we are self governed. With this blessing comes great responsibility. If we refuse to accept this responsibility and not live to the moral and ethical standards that we all share, we are not qualified to govern ourselves.
In the 1800’s, Alexis de Tocqueville a French philosopher toured the United States. He attempted to address the greatness of America in the books "Democracy in America." A famous quote is attributed to de Tocqueville: “America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." Even then, over 200 years ago, it was obvious that the greatness of our country is related to the people doing the right thing. We don’t need the government, whether it is local, state or federal, to tell us what is right or wrong by passing laws. We know right from wrong and most of us try to do what is right. That is what de Tocqueville saw in his splendid description of the greatness of America. These store owners are not demonstrating this goodness or the moral and ethical principals we share. They are choosing profits over principals and ethics.
The thing is, we have a choice. The businesses that deal these drugs are also profiting from the legitimate sales of other items. So, when we shop at these businesses we support them in their ability to deal these dangerous drugs. Instead of making purchases in certain local liquor stores and food marts located throughout town where the owners profit from the drug sales, we can shop at the liquor stores, food marts and convenience stores where the owners have refused to place profits over doing what’s right. We can watch the places where we do business. If you're unsure about which businesses sell these items, ask the store manager or employees. Also, these items are usually located behind the counters in three-inch square, metallic-looking packages labeled as “Matrix," "Voo-Doo" and go by many other names. Just asking the clerk for "Voo-Doo" usually illicits a response that indicates if these items are for sale.
If they do sell them, then join old “Poor Richard” here and shop somewhere else.
Richard “Poor Richard” Saunders