Law enforcement officials, residents show support for Cortland County’s proposed law that fights intoxicant and substance abuse

Cortland County office building. (Photo Source: Kevin L. Smith/Cortland Voice)

Several law enforcement officials, residents and other officials from Cortland County showed support for a proposed local substance abuse law that could be enacted by county legislators at a later date.

Local Law “H” for the year of 2021, also known as the “Cortland County Synthetic Intoxicants and Dangerous Substances Law,” has been proposed as follows:

“…To Proscribe as Unlawful the Sale and Possession Within the County of Cortland, New York, of Intoxicating Chemical Compounds or Dangerous Substances, that Are Mislabeled or Unlabeled, Whose Intended Purpose is to be Ingested, Inhaled or Injected, to Mimic the Effects of Controlled Substances or Marihuana and that Have No Other Legitimate Therapeutic Use or Purpose.”

The chemical compounds and/or substances attached to the proposed law are salts, isomers, homologues, and salts of the isomers and homologues, according to dialogue of the drafted law.

At Thursday’s Cortland County Judiciary and Public Safety Committee Meeting, committee members voted 6-1 in favor of recommending to enact the local law. A public hearing on the law will be held at the County Legislative Session on Thursday, Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

According to the dialogue of the law, county legislators found that “the potential or actual harm to residents from certain intoxicating chemical compounds or dangerous substances to be such that these chemical compounds or dangerous substances should be prescribed as unlawful.”

The purpose of the proposed law is as follows:

  • To promote public health, safety, and general welfare, and to minimize public and private injury to the citizens for the county due to the permissive availability of certain intoxicating chemical compounds or dangerous substances; thus, requiring the prohibition of such chemical compounds or dangerous substances.
  • To protect life and health.
  • To aid in the interdiction of such chemical compounds or dangerous substances, along with other narcotics and intoxicants.
  • To aid in the prosecution of related offenses.

According to the proposed law, any person who violates it could be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor. Further violation of the law could lead to separate offenses.

County sheriff Mark Helms, city of Cortland police chief Paul Sandy and village of Homer police chief Robert Pitman expressed their support for the proposed local law. District attorney Patrick Perfetti and county coroner Denise Bushnell also spoke in favor of the law.

City of Cortland residents Melanie and Kevin Arnold, of Randall Street, and Carrie Whitney, of Delaware Avenue, each gave speeches on drug use in the area that has had a major effect on the neighborhoods they live in.

To view the discussion in full on the proposed local law at Thursday’s Cortland County Judiciary and Public Safety Committee meeting, click here. The discussion runs from 4:45 to 1:00:40 in the recorded video.