DC Mayor Gray Supports Tougher Paraphernalia Laws

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray endorsed strengthening the city’s 31-year-old drug paraphernalia law during a combined Ward 7 and Ward 8 community forum about sales of paraphernalia and synthetic drugs.

“I would be happy to expand the law to make it more enforceable,” said Gray, 70, at the July 11 forum in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital auditorium in Southeast.

Gray told the audience of nearly 250 that during the D.C. Council’s two-month recess, he will work with appropriate District agencies on tougher penalties against businesses selling materials used for manufacturing and ingesting drugs. Gray was responding to an audience member’s statement that the District must instantly suspend or revoke such businesses’ licenses.

D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Director Nicholas Majett, a forum panelist, said businesses are entitled to due process. “You have to be able to prove that they are selling synthetic drugs or drug paraphernalia,” he said.

Ryan Springer, deputy director of the D.C. Department of Health’s Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration, said his and other agencies face numerous challenges. “There are international cartels with tons of money to send (drug manufacturing) materials into the U.S. They even have websites teaching young people how to make and use the drugs ‘safely.’”