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Washington County anti-drug rally set for Saturday

Jennifer Sprouse • Feb 29, 2012 at 8:32 AM

Washington County will soon take a stand on synthetic drugs, as Mayor Dan Eldridge’s wife, Tammy, will lead a protest with Parents Against the Sale of Synthetic Drugs on Saturday outside Cloud 9 Emporium and Above the Clouds in Johnson City.

From 9 a.m. until midnight, Eldridge said student protesters from Daniel Boone and David Crockett high schools, parents and people from the community will be outside the two shops protesting the sale of synthetic drugs.

Tammy Eldridge said she and PASSD began planning and organizing the protest a week ago after initial reports of a student being removed from Daniel Boone on Feb. 21.

“We had one additional meeting after that Tuesday night and it was at Ferguson Enterprises last Friday,” Eldridge said. “I just said whoever is passionate about this, as a parent, as a mother, please come and help organize.”

She said the protest Saturday will be organized with assigned team leaders helping out during a specific hourly shift.

“We’ve kind of assigned team leaders and hours when they’re responsible for getting people there,” Eldridge said. “Walk-on protesters are welcome, but we’ve assigned times when we want certain team leaders there with their committed followers.”

Eldridge said she would like the protest to accomplish three of their goals: To educate people on the effects of using synthetic drugs, to send a message to synthetic drug store owners that they are not welcome in Washington County and to help push legislation that would ban synthetic drugs in Tennessee.

Eldridge said a subcommittee, made up of committee Chairman Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, along with Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport, and Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, held a meeting Tuesday in Nashville discussing a bill involving these legal drugs.

“In that bill it provides that should a store sell synthetic drugs or bath salts ... the store will be closed for 60 days,” she said.

Eldridge said stores selling synthetic drugs are also known to sell lottery tickets, beer and cigarettes and if they are caught selling these drugs, according to the proposed legislation, they would not be able to sell anything during those 60 days.

“We just really want to take back our community,” Eldridge said. “It’s such a great place to live.”

Eldridge said they have invited officials and state legislators to speak at 3 p.m. at the Cloud 9 Emporium, 411 W. Oakland Ave. A candlelight vigil will be held at that location, as well as Above the Clouds located in Boones Creek, at 9 p.m.

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