Police Chief Says City Meth Percursor Ordinance Violates State's Authority

Dec 31, 2013

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The police chief of Martin, Tenn. says he won’t be enforcing a current city ordinance that requires a prescription to buy medicines with a methamphetamine precursor, at least until the Martin city board makes a decision to revise it. 

Chief David Moore said his decision is based on an opinion from Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper Jr. saying the 19 cities and counties who passed prescription-only pseudoephedrine ordinances did so illegally.  Cooper’s opinion dictates that the ordinance violates Tennessee law that gives the power to the state legislature to regulate prescription drugs. 

Moore says the city enacted their current prescription drug ordinance in August. The police chief says he wouldn’t recommend enforcing an ordinance that the Tennessee Attorney General opposes, at least until the Martin city board has a chance to review the ordinance further. 

“Rather than put a local pharmacy manager into a predicament where they might have somebody from a corporate headquarters telling them to abide by the ruling of the state attorney general’s office rather than a local ordinance, the decision was made to suspend any kind of action on that ordinance until the next meeting of the city board which allows the city board to amend the current city ordinance to make it congruent with the state law or rescind it altogether," said Moore. 

Moore said the next city board meeting will take place during the second week of January.  Martin is one of three cities in Weakley County that has the prescription-only ordinance – the others being Dresden and Gleason. 

Currently the only statewide methamphetamine law in Tennessee is that every purchase of pseudoephedrine made in pharmacies is tracked electronically by law enforcement.