Pleased with law’s passage

Published 6:00 am Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Oxford Board of Aldermen recently approved Noah’s Law, which bans the sale of caffeine pills and powders to minors inside the city limits of Oxford.

Oxford joins Lafayette, Yalobusha and Tallahatchie counties’ governing boards by implementing the ban.

The Water Valley Board of Alderman also recently passed this same ban, which was named after a Water Valley resident. Noah Smith was just 17 when he died last year from an accidental overdose of caffeine pills. Smith took the pills to stay awake with his busy schedule of work and school. Smith was a senior at Water Valley High School.

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Noah’s Law is important to all of us but is personal to employees at the EAGLE. Noah’s mom, Jennifer Westmoreland, and his grandmother, Sandra Hipps, are independent contractors and deliver two of our routes on a daily basis. EAGLE employees have watched the grieving part of this process and have been supportive of the Westmoreland and Hipps families during this long procedure.

Tommy Reynolds, a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, introduced the original bill of Noah’s Law into the 2015 House and Senate legislative session. The measure passed the House but died in the Senate.

The Mississippi Attorney General earlier this year issued an opinion, giving local governments the option to pass an ordinance banning the sales to anyone less than 18 years old. Store clerks would be required to check identification cards as they do with the purchase of cigarettes and alcohol.

The statement by the Oxford Board of Alderman said that in the interest of public health and safety, the ordinance was fast-tracked to go into effect immediately. Normally any new ordinance that is passed doesn’t go into effect until 30 days after it has been voted on and approved.

Noah’s mom took her fight to Jackson last year in hopes of preventing the death of another teenager to caffeine pills. Westmoreland said in a recent interview, “I know Noah is smiling from heaven seeing that his death was not in vain and we are working to save the lives of the children in Mississippi.”

Hopefully next session Noah’s Law will pass both the Senate and House and prevent the sale of these caffeine pills and powders to minors and be enacted statewide.