Superior City Council bans synthetic marijuana
The city of Superior joined a growing number of local and state governments on Tuesday night by taking action to ban a synthetically induced high. Council President Bob Finsland presented the council with a new ordinance banning the use, possessi...
The city of Superior joined a growing number of local and state governments on Tuesday night by taking action to ban a synthetically induced high.
Council President Bob Finsland presented the council with a new ordinance banning the use, possession, sale and distribution of synthetic cannibinoid products like K-2, Spice, Genie and Yucatan Fire.
Superior's City Council voted 9-1 Tuesday night to adopt the ordinance as presented after more than 30 minutes of debate.
Councilor Greg Mertzig voted against the ordinance, preferring to follow the council's usual process of review by committee. He questioned whether it would be wiser to regulate it, like alcohol, to control who has access to it.
"I would feel a lot better if we could continue this conversation to include some health professionals that can give use some insight into if this is a health risk," Mertzig said. "I think it would be appropriate to have some professionals in here. I think we're going on assumption most of the time when we're talking about chemicals that most of us can't pronounce ... I think it would be appropriate to get some professionals in here to explain this stuff."
Mertzig said most of information he had to base his decision on was the ordinance itself, and that he knew very little about synthetic marijuana, an artificial cannibinoid made by treating organic materials with chemicals to produce a high similar to marijuana.
"I am going to say this as clearly as I can to you, Mr. Mertzig: They will set up shop in our community tomorrow while you dither with what you are going to do or not do," said Superior Mayor Dave Ross. "We have been assured by distributors that they will set up shop in our community if we do not pass this ordinance."
Ross said he views the distribution of synthetic marijuana as an imminent threat to the community, particularly youth, now that Duluth's City Council -- the first in Minnesota -- adopted a similar ordinance last week.
Superior's ordinance is modeled after one adopted by the City Council in Eau Claire, Wis., in July. Ross said the one adopted in Duluth didn't go far enough.
Under the ordinance, it is illegal to use, possess, transport, purchase, attempt to purchase, sell, publicly display for sale or attempt to sell, give away, trade or barter the herbal products treated with a variety of chemicals to produce a high similar the psychoactive substance found in marijuana.
The ordinance provides an exception for use under direction or prescription of a physician, dentist or other medical-care provider authorized to prescribe pharmaceuticals.
Fines for violations of the new ordinance range from $100 to $500, but doesn't include court fees that would drive those costs higher.
According to the New York Times, eight states have banned the products as of July 10.