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Article updated: 11/18/2011 5:59 PM

Batavia considers banning synthetic pot, stimulants

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Since Feb. 21, Batavia police have responded to at least 10 calls involving people believed to have used synthetic marijuana or stimulants.

That caseload is one reason Batavia Police Chief Gary Schira has suggested the city council make a local law outlawing the substances.

The other reason is the fatal crash of an Aurora man's car into a house near North Aurora in June; his family believes he was high on synthetic marijuana and that the substance led to a panic attack that led to the crash. His mother has started a campaign against the substances.

The council will consider the matter Monday night. It meets at 7:30 p.m. at the Batavia Government Center, 100 N. Island Ave.

Sugar Grove, North Aurora and Aurora have enacted similar bans. Batavia's proposal calls for fines of up to $1,000, community service and, in the case of people 17 and older, jail time.

The synthetic marijuana is often marketed as "herbal incense." The Drug Enforcement Agency reports that the leafy substance is often mixed with real marijuana and sprayed with other substances, including PCP.

According to a report from Batavia Police Detective Gary LaBarbera, two stores in Batavia were selling such "herbal incense" as of early November: a gas station and a liquor store, both in downtown. The product was marked "not for human consumption," but one of the stores had it displayed with glass smoking pipes.

Those 10 incidents to which Schira referred included a 49-year-old woman having seizures, an 18-year-old unable to stand, a 22-year-old man becoming agitated and paranoid, a 25-year-old man found disoriented in a parked car in the middle of a road, and three youths found on a school roof after hours. Relatives also blamed it for an incident in which a 26-year-old man was charged with aggravated battery and unlawful restraint.

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