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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Buckhorn signs Tampa ban on bath salts, synthetic marijuana

19

April

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Friday signed Tampa's new ban on synthetic marijuana and bath salts.

"That is really bad stuff, marketed under dubious practices, and they're selling to a very vulnerable age group," he said. "That's just a formula for young kids dying."

The City Council voted Thursday to pass the ban, which took effect as soon as the mayor signed it.

Tampa's ban is different from state laws that have prohibited specific chemical compounds for synthetic drugs, leading manufacturers to change their formulas just enough to make the products legal again.

Instead, Tampa's ordinance says something is a synthetic drug when it has two or more of the following characteristics:

• It's advertised to be a product with a use for which it is rarely, if ever, used — like incense, potpourri, plant food, insect repellent, iPod cleaner or glass cleaner.

• It's sold in liquor stores, smoke shops, convenience stores or other retailers that typically don't sell the advertised products.

• Its packaging makes claims such as "does not contain any chemical compounds prohibited by state law," "legal herbal sunshine" or "100 percent compliant guaranteed," or suggests the user will experience a high, euphoria, relaxation or mood enhancement.

• It has a high price, misleading directions ("Place caplet over door to enhance mood") or a brand name similar to slang for illicit street drugs. Tampa's ordinance offers more than 130 examples, including "Fake Weed," "Grape Ape Herbal Incense," "Maui Wowie," "Dead Man Walking," "K-3 Legal," "Kryptonite," "Scooby Snax," "Moon Rocks," "Mr. Happy," "Pineapple Express" and "Three Monkey Incense."

Violations can be punished by a fine up to $500, 60 days in jail, or both.

[Last modified: Friday, April 19, 2013 8:12pm]

    

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