COEBURN, Va. - Tripps Trinkets in downtown Coeburn, Virginia is at the center of an intense debate. The store sells synthetics but they've been reformulated to be legal. While it's not against the law to sell those products, lots of folks here aren't happy about it.
Like father of two Mike Sluss who told News 5 he fears what could happen to local children. "Peer pressure for one thing. They can convince them that that is something they need to be doing," he said. "As a parent I know it's not but I can't always be there to protect my children. I would just assume something like that not be in our town."
Chief of police Willy Stout tells us several overdoses could be attributed to products sold in the store. "It's not actually an illegal product they're selling, but the chemicals and things that are in that product are causing some folks some serious health problems," he said.
Some people we talked to here in the town say this is a nuisance and they want it removed, while others defend their right to operate a perfectly legal business.
Jeremy Powers lives across the street from the shop. He told us he's never bought anything in the store, but has no problem with it or the products sold inside. "If they want to use it let them use it. If they don't they don't have to," he said. "Nobody is twisting their arm to make them."
Cody Salyers lives in an apartment above the shop. He believes products sold at Tripps should be thought of like any other legal substance. "I say let them use it at their own risk if that's what they want to do," he said.
Protests over the weekend and petitions circulating have created tension in this small town. That's something that also concerns the police chief. "If they want to take a stand and say that they're against it, stand on the sidewalk and hold a sign to say they're against it or whatever, more power to you. But don't do anything to interfere with the store's operations. Don't make threats or do anything of that kind," he said.