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Courts / Law

Sarasota County Passes Designer Drug Ordinance

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The Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners today unanimously passed an ordinance banning certain designer drugs. It bans products such as synthetic marijuana, bath salts and other items designed to mimic the impairing effects of controlled substances.

In a vote of 5-0, the commission banned the sale, possession and manufacturing of synthetic drugs that are designed to impair the user. This includes products that are intentionally misbranded, as in the case of synthetic marijuana which is often labeled as "incense" and "not intended for human consumption." The ordinance also makes it illegal to misidentify or omit ingredients on product packaging.

In a prepared statement, Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight said, "The Board of County Commissioners clearly understood the importance of banning these substances to protect our community. "There is no legitimate use for synthetic drugs and now we can safeguard our youth from their harmful effects."

The Sarasota County ordinance fills the gap between products regulated as controlled substances and products regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration. It also creates criminal and civil penalties for those who violate the ordinance.

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