Posted at: 07/30/2013 6:35 PM
Updated at: 07/30/2013 6:40 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
A group of about 50 people came throughout the day to protest a downtown Ashland business they say sells synthetic drugs.
The group started the demonstration when the store opened at 10 a.m. and said they planned to stay until the store closed at 6 p.m. The group included past users, teachers from area schools, and family members of users.
"He was in the ICU in 4-point restraints, very combative," said Paula Tucci-Telisczak, organizer of the protest.
Last Saturday was the last straw for Tucci-Telisczak. She said her 15-year-old son was hospitalized while using synthetic drugs.
"I was very angry so I started a group on Facebook called Stop Synthetic Marijuana and I had no idea it would balloon into something like this," she said.
It was a constant stream of horns on Main Street. The group is protesting J.C. Moon, a downtown business they say is selling synthetics. Employees and the owner declined our request for comment. Protestors say store ownership parked a large camper on the street to block the store front from view.
Jessica Watson said she used to buy synthetics from the store.
"All the time, everyday for months, sometimes $200 in a day," said Watson.
She said she was addicted for eight months.
"Today is 95 days clean for me so we went and helped make posters and stuff. Something has to be done, everyone knows it's a problem but no one was doing anything about it," Watson said.
Tucci-Telisczak said they aren't protesting the store, just what they sell.
"We are not trying to shut the store down that's not our purpose we want them to stop selling synthetics," she said.
The protesters have a petition asking for an ordinance to make selling synthetics illegal. The City of Ashland said there are drafts already in the works.
"It impacts the city a lot. It raises the crime rate and it raises the cost of hospitals, and it creates a lot of problems for families," said Mayor Bill Whalen.
Whalen said they've looked to what other cities have done to combat the issue. He said the City Council will take up the issue soon.