Sioux Falls, SD
Weeks after laws banned them, potential new versions of synthetic marijuana are showing up in Sioux Falls.
They are called fragrance sachets, little cloth bags of an herbal blend you can use as an air freshener to freshen up your sock drawer.
Minnehaha State's Attorney Aaron McGowan expected alternatives to the now illegal synthetic marijuana to pop up. Changing the chemicals or packaging could make this version of synthetic marijuana legal.
"Even if it's re-packaged and not being sold as a loose leaf incense or potpourri, there still could be a technical violation," McGowan said.
Sioux Falls detectives are testing fragrance sachets to see if they are sprayed with illegal chemicals defined by a law South Dakota Governor Daugaard signed. They are also running compliance checks at local smoke shops.
"We're basically dealing with the distribution of controlled drugs. If there's institutions or stores out there trying to bypass statutes that still intend on selling these poisons to our community, specifically our young people, we're going to aggressively prosecute them," McGowan said.
We checked with Roll with It on 12th Street and Marion Road, a store which previously sold herbal incense, to see if the store sells fragrance sachets. On the phone, an employee said the store carries a variety of legal products, but never confirmed if it sold this particular product.
Though a clerk invited us to the store, our camera was not allowed in. After asking to buy a fragrance sachet, an employee said he would not sell it to me and called the police. We got off the property and went to a neighboring business. A Roll With It employee asked the owner to have us leave his property.
Two police cars showed up. An officer told me the employee felt I displayed intent to use the product illegally because on the phone I had compared it to synthetic marijuana.
"I suspect there is a lot of pressure on the store owners and I would certainly advise anyone to err on the side of caution," McGowan said.
No matter what form, McGowan says law enforcement officers aren't going to ease up on keeping synthetic drugs off the streets.
"Hopefully it doesn't take an allergic reaction or fatality to end this practice," McGowan said.