Sunrise Bans Synthetic Marijuana

City will be the first in Broward to approve the ban

Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012  |  Updated 1:39 PM EDT
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Sunrise commissioners unanimously agreed to ban synthetic marijuana Tuesday night, making Sunrise the first city in Broward to prohibit the loose leaf incense, the Sun Sentinel reported.

The substance is synthetic and up to 800 times more potent than real marijuana, costing up to $40 for a packet.

Manufacturers have skirted state and federal laws banning the chemicals in earlier versions of fake marijuana by using different formulations and labeling the packets as incense and stating that they are not for human consumption.

Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan told the Sun the federal government and the state needed to take measures as well.

"We can't do this by municipality alone," he said. "In years past we had children who sniffed glue or sniffed paint. But we've never faced something as dangerous as this, where an entire industry is marketing this as safe and benign. This is called synthetic pot by the people marketing it because no one would buy it if it was called synthetic meth or synthetic cocaine or synthetic poison."

The Sweetwater City Commission approved a similar ordinance early in May, and was the first municipality in Florida to ban the substance.

"It gives my agency a tool that we can make sure that no youth can buy this junk, this poison, in our city and die from it," Sweetwater Police Chief Robert Fuguera said during a May meeting.

The so-called fake pot is sold at gas stations, convenience stores and other shops.

The side effects one can experience from fake marijuana include delusions, elevated blood pressure, elevated heart rate, hallucinations, heart palpitations, increased agitation, nausea, pale skin, seizures, vomiting and death, the city said.

Miami-Dade Commissioners are also working to ban the sale and purchase of synthetic marijuana.

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