Members of the Conway City Council voted Tuesday night in favor of an ordinance repealing the ordinance it passed last month regulating the possession, ingestion, sale and distribution of the synthetic cannabinoid K2.
City Attorney Michael Murphy said the action came under the advisement of the Arkansas Municipal League, who recently sent two "terse" notices to the city recommending the existing ordinance be repealed and any further action be in accordance with a new state rule banning the sale and distribution of K2.
The state Board of Health met July 2 and adopted an emergency rule, which will last 120 days, banning the sale and distribution of K2.
There are no provisions under the state’s rule regulating the possession or ingestion of K2, nor the sale, distribution, possession or ingestion of salvia, a plant derivative included in the ordinance passed by the city council last month.
Murphy noted though the state’s emergency rule doesn’t regulate the possession of K2, any drivers discovered to be impaired and under the influence of K2 would be subject to local DUI and DWI laws.
Action by the state board towards a permanent rule is being taken under its regular rule-making process, and includes a 30-day public hearing period and review by two legislative committees, the Public Health and Welfare Committee and the Rules and Regulations Committee, legislative sub-committees that represent both the state House and Senate.
The entire process will take about three months to complete.
Murphy said if no state action is taken by the end of the 120 days, it would put the city in a "gap period" before the state legislature meets again, during which time the council would have to again decide which course of action, if any, to take in regulating K2.
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.
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.
Murphy also said the city’s new ordinance would not usurp the enforcement of the county’s ordinance banning the sale, distribution, ingestion and possession of K2, salvia and other similar synthetic cannabinoids by members of the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office within city limits.
The council also approved:
• 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 at 6:30 p.m. on August 10 to discuss the closing of an easement located in University Park Subdivision.
• Resolutions requesting the Faulkner County Tax Collector to place certified liens on properties located at 4910 College Avenue, 1515 Freyaldenhoven Lane and 2 Eve Lane, as a result of incurred expenses by the City due to city code enforcement violations.
• An ordinance accepting grant proceeds and appropriating funds in the amount of $5,400 for the Historic District Commission to be administered by the Planning and Development Department.
• An ordinance accepting a donation from Conway Cobras Baseball and appropriating the funds in the amount of $218 for the Conway Parks Department’s youth baseball scholarship program.
• An ordinance appropriating funds received from Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. in the amount of $3,502 to the City of Conway for compensation for the installation of the French drainage system by Nabholz Construction Corporation 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)