Meth-related ordinance sees opposition

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- The city council passed an ordinance Monday restricting the sale of certain products containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine in the city limits, but not without some opposition.

The city wants retailers to put products containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine behind the counter in an effort to make it more difficult for people who manufacture methamphetamine to get the key ingredients. After the discussion in the last council meeting, the ordinance was tightened somewhat to include only those products containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine as the main ingredient.

Don Kissell, a lobbyist for MetaboLife, a dietary supplement containing ephedra, asked the council not to approve the ordinance until it could be brought into line with ordinances in St. Charles and St. Peters, both of which have revised their ordinances to be more specific about which products should be put behind the counter and which could be safely left on the shelves.

MetaboLife, Kissell said, contains ephedra, a herbal product, is often mistakenly included in the restricted section. He assured the council that ephedra cannot be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Mike Sargent, from Washington, D.C., representing the Consumer Health Care Products Commission, told the council he is concerned about the burden such an ordinance would place on retailers.

"The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and Wal-Mart are opposed to the ordinance," Sargent said.

Mayor Scott Faughn was adamant in his support of the ordinance.

"Our law enforcement came to us and asked can we give them one small tool to fight meth with," Faughn said. "Our law enforcement doesn't have big-city lobbyists speaking for them. I've talked to the guys who put their lives on the line and they said it will help them fight meth."

Councilman Tracy Edington, who owns a Money Mizer store in Poplar Bluff, at first showed some hesitation about passing the ordinance.

"I've talked to other retailers," Edington said. "Most would rather be asked than be forced to conform to an ordinance."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: