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Tampa bans bath salts, synthetic marijuana

TAMPA — The City Council on Thursday joined Hillsborough County in banning the sale of bath salts and synthetic marijuana.

The city's ban is not like state laws that have banned scores of specific chemical formulations of synthetic drugs, only to see manufacturers tweak the compounds slightly to make them legal.

Instead, Tampa's ordinance says something is a synthetic drug when it meets two or more conditions:

• 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."

Selling the synthetic drugs can be punished by a fine up to $500, 60 days in jail, or both.

Tampa's ordinance comes up for a final vote April 18.

Hillsborough enacted its ban in February.

Republic wins

garbage contract

The City Council awarded a three-year, $5 million contract to pick up 40 percent of Tampa's commercial solid waste to Republic Services of Florida. Republic replaces Waste Management, which recently paid the city $1.2 million to settle a claim that it overcharged the city over a five-year period. Officials say the new contract contains safeguards — electronic invoicing, regular reconciliation of customer lists between the city and the contractor, GPS tracking of trucks and radio-frequency identification tags on garbage cans — to prevent overcharging.

Tampa bans bath salts, synthetic marijuana 04/04/13 [Last modified: Thursday, April 4, 2013 11:43pm]
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