The Flagler Beach City Commission on Thursday approved the first reading of an ordinance banning the sale and display of synthetic herbal incense and bath salt products, also known as synthetic marijuana.
The ordinance passed with a 4-0 vote after City Commissioner Marshall Shupe made the motion for approval, and City Commissioner Kim Carney seconded it. City Commissioner Joy McGrew, who was absent from the meeting, didn’t vote.
The commission will vote once more on the ordinance at its second reading Nov. 8, but the its expected to pass, said Flagler Beach Mayor Linda Provencher.
“We’re trying to stand in solidarity with the rest of the county,” Provencher said. “It really needs to be a countywide effort; otherwise, people from Palm Coast could just come here to get it.”
The vote follows a ban of the products implemented in both Palm Coast and Bunnell. Health effects from the synthetic marijuana include vomiting, increased heart rate, seizures and death.
Provencher said she hopes bans on a municipal level will precede an eventual statewide ban. The problem with city-implemented legislature, she said, is enforcement.
An ordinance banning the synthetic products issued by the city of Flagler Beach can only be regulated as a code issue. That means any business in violation is subject only to a fine by city officials. If the products were made illegal throughout the state, law enforcement could get involved, Provencher said.
“Still, this is a step in the right direction,” she said. “We want to make sure our children are safe walking into our community’s businesses. There’s really no good argument why people need this.”
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