Inspectors Hit Seaside Heights Boardwalk For Safe Summer Tour [AUDIO]
The Division of Consumer Affairs along with the New Jersey Attorney General's office kicked off it's Safe Summer 2012 tour at the Seaside Heights Boardwalk.On Thursday, officials inspected games of chance to make sure they're fair, tested toys for lead, and made sure illegal and banned items like synthetic drugs are kept out of retail stores.
DCA Acting Acting Commissioner Erick Kanefsky says that they look at all retail stores for items such as novelty contact lenses, items that have lead, as well items like water balloon yo-yo's which can be strangulation threats to children.
"These are all things that our Office of Consumer Protection is on top of everyday and look at obviously not at the boardwalk, but more generally. So we're taking that initiative and what we do every day to the boardwalk."
With dozens of small stores on the boardwalk all condensed close to one another, many of which cycle through inventory and ownership regularly, Kanefsky says it's important to have a constant presence and checking for items.
"If it's a new owner advising them of these policies, giving them warnings, If it's a past owner who's had issues in the past we're going to be issuing violation because at this point obviously they should know."
The Safe Summer initiative is an annual program spearheaded by the DCA and every year Kanefsky says every year there is something different to look for. Last year's "hot" item was the synthetic drug "bath salts", and though sale of that synthetic drug have been contained new ones are popping up.
"There really has been an uptick in synthetic marijuana and what we saw initially basically there are five major brands of synthetic marijuana and those were the ones being regulated by some states. What we quickly realized is that it's very easy for these companies to morph into different areas and use different chemicals."
He adds the DCA is pushing for legislation to make all forms of synthetic marijuana illegal.
Though synthetic drugs are getting so much attention, it doesn't mean midway games are getting ignored. In fact, Kanefsky is confident the games of chance are safer than ever.
"I think it's fair to say that most of them are fair and people shouldn't be reluctant from engaging in these games."
If you suspect foul play at a game of chance or if you suspect consumer fraud of any kind, Kanefsky urges people to reach out to the DCA.
While in Seaside inspections were done to Lucky Leo's, Castle and Sonny & Rick's Arcades. The Safe Summer 2012 Tour will be in Wildwood and Atlantic City in the coming weeks.
Martin Silva, Assistant Chief Investigator said that in addition to the Safe Summer Tour, random inspections are conducted year round at all boardwalks throughout the state.
Last year the Department of weights and measures had 150 inspections of games of chance last year which resulted in at least one infraction. The fine for each infraction is 250 dollars per infraction for the first inspection and 500 dollars per infraction afterwards.