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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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12/30/2011 12:43:00 PM
Bath salt protest in Old Town
Protesters lined up in front of The Donís Smoke Shop Friday to protest the businessí sale of what are alleged to be bath salt-type synthetic drugs. VVN/Jon Pelletier
Protesters lined up in front of The Donís Smoke Shop Friday to protest the businessí sale of what are alleged to be bath salt-type synthetic drugs. VVN/Jon Pelletier

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

COTTONWOOD -- Protesters stood on the curb in Old Town Cottonwood in front of The Don's Friday to protest the smoke shop's sale of what are alleged to be bath salt-type synthetic drugs. The small group included residents of Old Town and members of the Yavapai substance abuse coalition, MATForce.

Protester Phillip Van Gorp said, "I work in Old Town and am sick and tired of people leaving their trash everywhere."

He is referring to the foil packets in which the product is sold. He said those packets have been discarded everywhere in Old Town.

"We clean it up on a regular basis," especially in the deep wash that runs behind the Boys and Girls Club center. "You look there right now and you will find a dozen of the packets in the wash. They leave here and get out of everyone's sight and go over to the wash to use it."

"This stuff is poison," said Ivan Anderson, a spokesman for MATForce. "They sell this stuff as bath salts or glass cleaner and they are saying it's not meant for human consumption, but that's exactly what it is. They know people are going to use this stuff. It's a chemically made drug that adds all kind of negative effects to the body and they have no problem selling the stuff."

People stood on the curb in the public rights of way. Several policemen were on hand. Chief Jody Fanning said they were just there to keep the peace, if needed.

The operators of The Don's say, "Their point to us is that it is legal and as long as it is legal, it is all right to sell ... even when we confront them with the fact that we believe it is harming people," according to Fanning.

One Old Town property owner brought the protesters cookies and said he supported the protest, as did a neighboring shop owner. But one woman was angry at the protesters saying the smoke shop has the legitimate right to operate a business.

Operators of the shop were not on hand for the protest.

Taylor Waste
Related Stories:
• Editorial: Cottonwood again leads the charge in drug war battle
• Jerome holds off on 'bath salts' ordinance

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Article comment by: Lee Cali

Hey folks, is Gaia Gurl the only one who cares that tobacco kills? Way more people than bath salts do, I'd wager .

I'm glad to hear the Don's Smoke shop will voluntarily stop selling the glass cleaner that so many have misused.

But making a living from an item that kills people (as also Smoke and Guns shop does) is not my idea of morality, no matter how legal. That's the larger picture people should be looking at.

Posted: Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Article comment by: Blm Blm

Why the heck would ANY business sale such garbage. Shame on you. Trying to make a buck off of stupid kids is a crime in it self.

Posted: Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Article comment by: Jamie Friend

Its sad where this has come to. It is the buyers problem for buying a misusing product. Don's isn't doing anything illegal and its a shame people aren't teaching their children not to do this stuff...or anything at all....just easier to blame it on a store.

Posted: Monday, January 2, 2012
Article comment by: Shayne O'Shea

Thanks Jon for such an incomplete article.
Your story gave me little or no information on what the real problem is, the bath salts or the trash? If the product is legal then the trash must be the problem. Your article was very unclear.

Posted: Monday, January 2, 2012
Article comment by: Cottonwood Resident

For the comment in the article regarding, "the smoke shop has a right to be open."

This is not a question of The Don smoke shop having the "right" or anyone trying to shut down his business. This is all about the fact that his business is selling a product, which by all rights, should be illegal(to sell, manufacture, or posess). There are young people going into his business and purchasing this product and possibly under 18's buying tobacco product too. This is a dangerous situation for our young and the rest of our community.

Should "Bath Salts, Window Cleaner" or other synthetic "METHAMPHETAMINES"be illegal...YES

Should The Don be allowed to remain in business? long as he is with the legal realms of a business operator.

Posted: Monday, January 2, 2012
Article comment by: yancie kajfas

It never ceases to amaze me how people find new ways to ruin their lives and their families lives. All we can do is pray.

Posted: Sunday, January 1, 2012
Article comment by: verde valley PARENT

When my friend went in to inquire as to why they were selling this stuff, knowing it was harmful, the reply was, "because it is our most profitable." Parents need to watch out for their children, when our area retailers turn their backs on our children in exchange for lining their pockets. If I had known there was going to be a protest, I would have been there. I heard of a meeting about this issue on January 3rd. Anyone know about it?

Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2011
Article comment by: HEATHER L

I would have loved to seen a pic of the kids that were out there.. its kids that are usually using it and its kids that speak the loudest.. just sayin

Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2011
Article comment by: G. Martin

I can understand BOTH sides of this issue. Yes, it's presently legal to sell this garbage. But, it's a moral question like, Should I sell this garbage? I clearly think NOT!!! This is where greed comes into play, it seems making MONEY is more important than the harm this legal drug causes. So, sell it if you must. But, your the one who has to live with knowing it's killing the young and old who are using this crap! Can you live with that?

Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2011
Article comment by: Cottonwood Resident

You can not put the blame on the business selling any kind of packaged goods... go to the source, the government.. AND YOUR KIDS! people blame the drug dealers and such... how about taking a part in your childrens life.. know who they hang with, who they chat up on-line or cell phone with, are they allowed to hang out un-supervised? Usually it is OTHER kids selling drugs to your kids!

Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2011
Article comment by: Old Town Resident

There is a sign on the front door that said they will stop selling it as of January 3, 2012. It's been up all week. The owner is voluntarily pulling it so why the protest? It's done.....

Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2011
Article comment by: Thank You Protestors!

If I had known this protest against the toxic substance known as Bath Salts and Glass Cleaner was going on I would have been out there right along side of you standing! Thanks to all of you for caring enough about the youth and all people affected in our society/community to take time out of your life to protest this! Getting out and educating people about the harm this drug has brought across our nation, the suicides and murders, and permanent brain damaged people who have used it, needs to be told! Knowledge is power! Over 28 states so far have outlawed it and we need to be among them, the destructive power, of MDPV aka:"Bath Salt drug" is like a mix of LSD, Cocaine, and meth, combined..People act paranoid schizophrenic on it,can't sleep, loose weight, and hear voices and see things that are not there, it's horrifying! When they are finally taken to the hospital some even have to be restrained, they are so out of their mind. These smoke shoppes are not supposed to be allowed to sell it any longer there is a temp ban put on it,as it's being investigated, yet they are still selling it to our kids on the sly! I know this for a fact! As far as I am concerned any business that sells something as harmful as this to people are making dirty money, this is hurting people, we have enough substance abuse in this country why help people get it easier, to make a quick buck for yourself!? That type of lack of ethics will catch up with the owners that sell this toxic trash to former meth addicts and our kids! You never know what they will do to get it for one thing, it even puts store owners at their own risk.. Go look up the killings committed as a result of the use of this drug! We need to wipe MDPV off the map! Being an educated parent, citizen and (if you choose to do so) consumer is much better then being the uneducated alternative.

Posted: Friday, December 30, 2011
Article comment by: JL B

We as a community need to band together and boycott The Don's. If they want to do harm our community's children then why are we supporting their business. We have control to put them out of business. Let's KILL their business before they KILL someone's child !!!! We also need to educate the tourist who are visiting Old Town so they won't support this business. Thank you protesters for doing so !

Posted: Friday, December 30, 2011
Article comment by: Nubie in Cottonwood

It's legal to sell gasoline too, but most everyone would object if they were making molotov cocktails. Old Town deserves better than this business. Don's needs to clean up their act or leave. The community does not need these morally bankrupt dope peddlers.

Posted: Friday, December 30, 2011
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl

So now a FREE MARKET economy does not apply, I guess that is ONLY for huge CORPORATIONS! They have been legally poisening us for generations. Alcohol, tobacco, chemicals . . .

Well guess what? More prohibition is NOT working. They are just changing the formula and it's back on the MARKET.

Legalize, tax and regulate the only SAFE drug that you cannot DIE or OVERDOSE on . . . keep it out of our children's hands. Stop the insane war on Medical Marijuana.

"More Americans now die from prescription pills than car accidents. The nation's response to the trend will define an era, but corporate influence threatens reform."

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