OCEAN CITY – A few hours after a ban on salvia and related paraphernalia went into effect, Ocean City police discovered several resort businesses openly violating the law by continuing to sell the so-called hallucinogen.
Yesterday, at approximately 1 p.m., the Ocean City Police Department began inspecting businesses located within the corporate limits of Ocean City to ensure compliance of a newly adopted ordinance banning the possession and sale of the hallucinogen known as salvia and all related paraphernalia, under Town of Ocean City Ordinance Article IV section, 58-182.
Pursuant to the adoption of a newly enacted town of Ocean City ordinance, the OCPD located three businesses that were still in possession of this substance and in violation of the new law.
The businesses have been identified as Ocean Wave, #2 Dorchester Street, Unit 102; Ocean Beachwear, 1101 Atlantic Avenue (Boardwalk); and Rave, 16 North Baltimore Avenue.
The OCPD confiscated the contraband and will be making application for charges with the Ocean City District Court Commissioner.
On Tuesday, a reporter with The Dispatch observed police inspecting a number of Boardwalk stores, which continued to sell salvia paraphernalia, although no charges have been filed against those merchants at this time. Police clearly noticed the paraphernalia, mainly hookas, a large group smoking device, but did not confiscate or charge the merchants. The ordinance clearly states salvia-related paraphernalia is illegal.
At Monday night’s Mayor and Council meeting, it was learned the law firm of Coates, Coates & Coates of Ocean City was hired to represent several merchants as a result of the new law.
"In order for the Town of Ocean City to eliminate the sale and possession of salvia, they must follow the procedure already made available by the legislature,” wrote attorney Cathi V. Coates to the Mayor and Council. “The Town must file a petition with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and request that salvia be added to the list of controlled dangerous substances pursuant to Criminal Law Article 5-202 and not by attempting to circumvent the procedure by enacting local legislation in the middle of the season.”
The town had previous asked the state Attorney General’s Office for its opinion on this very matter, and counsel advised the town it was well within its rights and the law to ban the possession and sale of salvia.
In other news, for updates on this year’s White Marlin Open, see www.whitemarlinopen.com for the latest look at the leaderboard.
For all the week’s news, see The Dispatch on Friday morning.