Batavia readies ban on synthetic marijuana
November 9, 2011 5:28PM
Updated: December 11, 2011 8:43AM
BATAVIA — Two businesses in Batavia have been found selling synthetic marijuana — prompting Batavia police and aldermen to support a ban on the sale or delivery, possession or use of the substance.
The Batavia City Services Committee this week unanimously supported an ordinance that mirrors one in Aurora, the first among Fox Valley communities attempting to stifle the growing trend among teens and young adults.
“This is not simply a recreational drug,” said Alderman Jim Volk, committee chairman.
Police Chief Gary Schira said detectives visited several retail locations where tobacco, alcohol and related items are sold and found the synthetic marijuana available at one liquor store and one gas station. The products were in small plastic jars, marketed as incense and marked “not for human consumption.”
Schira said there were 10 documented incidents believed to be related to synthetic drug use in Batavia from February to October. The incidents ranged from a 49-year-old woman experiencing seizures after smoking “red magic” — one of the dozens of generic names for the substance — to two aggravated battery incidents against two juveniles.
But Schira said the tragic death of an 18-year-old Auroran who died when he crashed his vehicle into a North Aurora house in June after smoking the synthetic alternative marijuana, and other horror stories of a similar nature, were the reason he recommended passage of the ordinance. The City Council will vote on the ordinance Nov. 21.
“We are following suit, but we also want to bring it home,” Schira said.
People convicted of the sale or delivery of fake marijuana would face a fine of $750 to $1,000, and anyone under age 17 may also be required to complete 100 to 200 hours of community service. Anyone 17 or older could face up to six months in jail.