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Supervisors approve Noah’s Law ordinance

Lafayette County soon will join a growing push to prevent youth age 18 and younger from purchasing caffeine pills and powders.

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance fashioned after a state bill known as Noah’s Law that failed in the 2014 state legislature to gain approval. The bill, named after Water Valley teen Noah Smith who died of an accidental overdose last year, caused by caffeine pills and powders, is expected to come up in the 2015 legislative session and supporters are hopeful to make it a state law.

In the meantime, the state attorney general ruled counties and municipalities can pass their own ordinances banning the sale of the caffeine products to minors.

Jennifer Westmoreland, the mother of Noah Smith, came before the board two weeks ago seeking approval of creating the ordinance. Supervisors indicated at that time they would approve the ordinance but would have to wait on county attorney David O’Donnell, who was absent from that meeting, to draw up the ordinance.

On Monday, O’Donnell said the ordinance had been drafted and fashioned it after the state bill which restricts the sale of caffeine pills to minors containing more than 25 percent caffeine. A first offense would be a $50 fine, followed by a $75 for a second offense and a $150 fine for subsequent violations.

Yalobusha County and Water Valley have similar ordinances.

One question that arose Monday was giving businesses ample notification of the new ordinance.

O’Donnell said businesses would receive notification and be required to place a placard in their store notifying customers of the ordinance and the penalties for violations.

The board said the new ordinance will take effect Sept. 1.