Kane County may soon be the next level of local government to attempt a ban on synthetic marijuana. County board members asked State's Attorney Joe McMahon Friday to draft an ordinance banning the latest source of drug problems in the county.
McMahon said he will begin that task, but legislation creating a total ban will be tricky.
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"One of the challenges is that the chemical composition of these products is frequently changed," McMahon said. "That allows the manufacturers to stay one step ahead of the legislation."
McMahon suggested a better route to a full ban may be a crackdown by the federal Food and Drug Administration that stops the marketing of synthetic marijuana products as bath salts or potpourri. McMahon said those products appear under various names at gas stations and other convenience stores labeled as not safe for human consumption, but all the marketing and packaging suggest smoking or otherwise injecting the product. Doing so creates a high similar to that of marijuana but often much more potent.
Recent drug forums by the Kane County Sheriff's Department and the Kane County Juvenile Drug Court warned of the potential fatal consequences of using the synthetic marijuana products.
Several local communities have recently banned the products from store shelves within their legal borders. Officials in Aurora, Algonquin, Batavia, Campton Hills, Geneva, North Aurora, St. Charles and Sugar Grove all instituted local bans after experiencing problems with the product being sold in their communities. Those local bans are generally broader in scope than the statewide ban that went into effect Jan. 1. Lake in the Hills also considered a ban. Officials there decided against that move because the village wouldn't be able to impose any criminal sanctions, just a citation.
McMahon's office is expected to come forward with a draft ban on synthetic marijuana sometime in the next few months.