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updated: 10/18/2011 7:27 PM

North Aurora bans synthetic pot, hallucinogens

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  • North Aurora has banned the sale of products that contain synthetic cannabis, including "herbal incenses."

      North Aurora has banned the sale of products that contain synthetic cannabis, including "herbal incenses."
    Associated Press

  • Max Dobner of Aurora died in this crash at Mooseheart Road and Route 31 in June. His mother says he told a brother shortly before the crash that he had smoked "herbal incense" and was having a panic attack.

       Max Dobner of Aurora died in this crash at Mooseheart Road and Route 31 in June. His mother says he told a brother shortly before the crash that he had smoked "herbal incense" and was having a panic attack.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

North Aurora has joined the campaign against "herbal incense" and "bath salts" ingested to get high.

The village board Monday voted to prohibit the sale, possession and use of such products that mimic the effects of marijuana and illegal stimulants and hallucinogens.

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Sugar Grove and Aurora have also banned the substances.

The North Aurora law is a stopgap measure until a state law prohibiting more synthetic cannabinoids takes effect Jan. 1.

North Aurora police can enforce the village's law immediately. Offenses will be ordinance violations, unlike in Aurora, where they can also be prosecuted as misdemeanors.

A person convicted of selling the substances could be fined $500 to $700. If they are 16 or younger, they would also be sentenced to perform 100 to 200 hours of community service. If 17 or older, they could be sentenced to one to six months in jail.

Someone convicted of possessing or using the substances could be fined $100 to $750. Those younger than 17 would also be sentenced to perform 50 to 100 hours of community service; those 17 and older would be sentenced to a maximum of 30 days in jail.

In June, 19-year-old Max Dobner of Aurora, while high on synthetic cannabis, crashed his car into a house on Route 31 just north of North Aurora. He died. His mother, Karen Dobner, has since campaigned against the sale of the product. She started the To the Maximus Foundation.

Illinois banned the substance known as "bath salts" July 22. Nine synthetic cannabis compounds were outlawed also, but that part doesn't take effect until Jan. 1.

Synthetic cannabis has been found in small packages labeled as "herbal incense." The Sugar Grove law listed more than 80 names, such as "K2 Solid Sex on the Mountain" and "Blueberry Hayze." Although package labels may say the product is "not for human consumption," law enforcement officials say their 1- to 2-ounce size belies that.

Synthetic cannabinoids act on the body the same way natural cannabinoids do. Drug designers come up with compounds, changing a molecule here and there to skirt laws that ban specific chemical compounds. The incense Max Dobner smoked said on the package that it was made of marshmallow flower, a plant used in herbal medicine. The Drug Enforcement Agency says the leaves are often sprayed with varying amounts of synthetic cannabinoids. They may also be mixed with PCP, real marijuana and amphetamines, according to Naperville-based psychiatrist Dr. Danesh Alam. He treats people who have used the incense. Cannabis, real or synthetic, can raise blood pressure, increase pulse, induce vomiting and cause panic, paranoia and hallucinations. Max Dobner told a brother shortly before the crash he was having a panic attack.

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