It took a state law enacted a year ago to convince some West Virginia retailers to stop selling synthetic marijuana. Unfortunately, virtually anything - including ersatz dope - is available by mail order, often through the Internet, these days.
Synthetic marijuana goes by a variety of names, ranging from "Mr. Smiley" to "Black Mamba." Disguising the stuff is one tactic those who manufacture it use to get it on store shelves.
Last March, legislators cracked down by enacting the ban on synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of illegally substances such as marijuana and cocaine. State Police say it has helped, but they add law enforcement officers throughout the state still encounter the manufactured potions. An estimated $22,000 worth was confiscated in Kanawha County a few days ago.
Beyond what they have done, legislators are powerless to take more of a bite out of synthetic drug crime. Law enforcement agencies can only continue seizing it when they find it, and arresting those in possession. Some critics say that means the law is a flop.
No, it is not. At least the synthetic drugs are not as readily available. That may make it less likely some West Virginians, particularly juveniles, will be victimized by them.