Boone County bans synthetic marijuana - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Boone County bans synthetic marijuana


Jeremy Brilliant/Eyewitness News

Boone County - Commissioners in Boone County have voted to ban the sale of synthetic marijuana. The drug, known as "spice" or "K2," has been linked to high blood pressure, seizures and several deaths.

In a unanimous decision, Boone County commissioners voted to ban the sale of spice and make it illegal to use in public areas. Violation of the ordinance will result in a fine of up to $1,000.

"It doesn't prevent kids from getting this, just like any other drug, but what it does is it takes it off the public shelf and allows us an opportunity to limit the sale within Boone County," said Jeff Wolfe, Boone County commissioner.

Spice is illegal in eight US states, but it's still legal in Indiana. Several municipalities are considering bans, and last week a state legislator announced plans to introduce a bill in 2011 to ban it statewide. However, that bill, if passed into law, would not go into effect until summer of 2011.

"Simply make sure that we outlaw what are known as cannabinoids and that's synthetic marijuana," said Rep. John Barnes (D-Indianapolis).

Barnes is asking store owners to voluntarily remove Spice from their shelves now, before the legislature has the chance to act.

"We want to make sure we hit the ground running in this next legislative session and not just have a piece of legislation, but one that will be complete enough to actually work and do what we need for it to do," he said.

Boone County officials said they didn't want to wait for the state to act.

"It's a very damaging mood-altering drug and the sooner we can make it unavailable the better," said Charles Eaton, Boone County commissioner.

"This lets us go forward and go visit these merchants and say, 'This is going to be prohibited or now this is prohibited and if you violate this ordinance we'll writer you a ticket for it there'll be a monetary fine you'll pay for selling this product,'" said Boone County Sheriff Ken Campbell.

Campbell says enforcement will be a priority.

"If my detectives or my deputies are tasked out and they can't meet there, the sheriff will go and serve these papers and see that this ordinance is enforced in Boone County," he said. "That's how important it is to me."

The ordinance will go into effect a few weeks from now. The sheriff's department will visit businesses in the county currently selling the substance to inform them of the new restrictions.

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