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updated: 12/6/2011 3:44 PM

West Chicago bans synthetic marijuana

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Daily Herald report

The West Chicago City Council on Monday voted to ban the sale, delivery or possession of any synthetic marijuana product.

The smokable herbal blends are labeled as incense or potpourri and sold at retail outlets; they contain plant material coated in chemicals similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

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These compounds are not FDA-approved for human consumption and can cause nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, seizures, hallucinations, paranoid behavior and, in extreme cases, death, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Synthetic marijuana is believed to have been a factor in the death of Max Dobner, 19, of Aurora, who died in June after crashing his car into a North Aurora house. His family has said they believe he smoked synthetic marijuana before the accident and, as a result, suffered a panic attack that caused the crash.

The West Chicago ordinance is effective immediately and calls for fines of at least $750 per offense.

Several other towns have enacted similar ordinances, including Aurora, Batavia and Sugar Grove. A state ban takes effect Jan. 1.

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