The Conway City Council will meet Tuesday night to consider an ordinance repealing the ordinance passed in June that regulates the purchase, possession and offering of K2 in the city of Conway.
The ordinance passed unanimously last month, after Conway Police Chief A.J. Gary told the council city officers could not enforce the regulations within the county’s ordinance banning the sale, distribution and possession of K2 and the passing of a city ordinance was necessary to "lock in without any question" that city officers will be responsible for the enforcement of the county’s K2 ban.
Jack Bell, assistant to Mayor Tab Townsell, said an e-mail advisement was recently sent to City Attorney Michael Murphy by Mark Hayes, general counsel with the Arkansas Municipal League, recommending the ordinance be repealed in the interest of avoiding any potential conflict with a new state rule banning the sale and distribution of K2.
"When we passed that ordinance, at that time nothing had been done on the state level," Bell said.
The state Board of Health met July 2 and adopted an emergency rule, which lasts 120 days, banning the sale and distribution, but not the possession, of K2.
Gov. Mike Beebe signed the rule afterward, making it effective immediately.
The state rule makes the sale of K2 a misdemeanor, punishable with a fine of up to $500 and up to one month in jail. It also includes a civil penalty of up to $1,000.
The city’s current ordinance provides that anyone in violation of the regulation will be found guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a term of imprisonment not to exceed one year or a fine not to exceed $1,000, or a combination of both.
The current ordinance also prohibits the sale and distribution of salvia and other similar mind-altering substances.
Additionally, under the current ordinance, any fines collected as the result of prosecution would be turned over to the city.
Pending a repeal, the new ordinance provides that any future action taken by city law enforcement against those selling or distributing K2 "will now be done pursuant to the state law."
Department of Health spokesman Ed Barham said last month though the rule wouldn’t supersede any existing city and county ordinances, it is possible for a person to be charged with violating both local and state rules.
County Attorney Stephan Hawks did not immediately return calls for comment, however, 20th Judicial Prosecuting Attorney Marcus Vaden said on Monday he has "no reason to believe" the county intends to repeal its current ordinance.
Vaden also said it was his opinion that the county ordinance provides for the enforcement of its regulations by both the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office and the Conway Police Department.
The county’s ordinance states any person in violation will be found guilty of a misdemeanor offense and subject to a term of imprisonment up to one year, and a fine up to $1,000.
The council will also consider:
• A resolution authorizing the mayor and city clerk to enter into the termination and assignment agreement with co-owners of the Independence Steam Electric Station 2.
• A resolution setting a public hearing to discuss the closing of an easement (part of Lot 1) located in University Park Subdivision.
• A resolution ordering the demolition of a structure located at 11 Mockingbird Lane.
• Resolutions requesting the Faulkner County Tax Collector to place certified liens on certain properties as a result of incurred expenses by the City.
• An ordinance accepting grant proceeds and appropriating funds for the Historic District Commission to be administered by the Planning and Development Department.
• An ordinance accepting a donation and appropriating funds for the Conway Parks Department.
• An ordinance appropriating funds for the installation of the French drainage system at the City of Colleges Park.
• Consideration of a consent order in the matter of the City of Conway vs. Todd A. Bruns.
(Staff writer Megan Reynolds can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (501) 505-1277. To comment on this story and others, visit www.thecabin.net)