The push to ban bath salts and synthetic marijuana in South Florida continues as Broward County and the City of Sweetwater are moving forward with ordinances to ban and restrict their sale.
Sweetwater commissioners will vote on the first reading of an ordinance regulating bath salts at a meeting Wednesday evening. The ordinance would require all bath salts to be sold in quantities of 16 ounces or more instead of the 1-5 gram baggies they're currently sold in.
The second reading of the bath salt ordinance will be heard by commissioners on July 2.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Broward County commissioners asked the county attorney to draft an ordinance that would stop bath salts and synthetic marijuana from being sold.
The ordinance would come back to the commission for review in the fall.
"We're talking about products that carry names such as 'Innocence' and are sold at convenience stores and gas stations, et cetera," said Commissioner Sue Gunzburger, who first requested the draft ordinance.
Also on Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi held a ceremonial signing of House Bill 1175, which outlaws more than 90 new forms of synthetic drugs.
"Synthetic drugs can be deadly and pose a serious threat to our communities, and this new law will enable law enforcement to better protect Floridians," Bondi said in a statement.
Synthetic ingredients in the products are designed as alternatives to illegal controlled substances.
Sweetwater Mayor Manny Maroño said the state's new ban is not enough.
"We're trying to ban the vehicle in which it’s being sold," he said.
Maroño said each product would have to be tested under state law to determine if it is illegal, taking up valuable time from law enforcement. He wants to add another layer of protection for his residents, by requiring that it be sold in larger quantities.
"The ban that we’re proposing is to ban the way it’s being sold. It’s worked for the synthetic marijuana, it’s going to work for the bath salts," he said.
Though Florida banned the sale of the synthetic designer drugs marketed as bath salts in early 2011, manufacturers have managed to skirt the law by altering the chemical makeup of the substance.
Earlier this month, commissioners in Miami-Dade gave preliminary approval to a ban on bath salts. The commission will issue a final vote on July 3.
A similar ordinance banning bath salts passed in Miami this month as well as in other South Florida cities. The commission last month also gave preliminary approval to ban the sale of synthetic marijuana.
The drug is known to cause psychosis, paranoia and agitation, and can turn someone into a “wild beast” according to psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Bober.