Synthetic marijuana ban passes house committee

A Kentucky house panel passed a bill that will ban the sale of synthetic drugs statewide.

House Bill 481 would set harsh consequences for stores selling the synthetic marijuana, bath salts, or other substances found in some stores under names like "Sparkle, Scooby Snax, or Head Trip."

Stores caught selling the incense or potpourri packets could face steep fines or lose their liquor licenses.

Lawmakers viewed a police video of a suspect allegedly high on the synthetic drugs before they unanimously passed the bill.

"The bill identifies those substances and takes what's called the class approach and begins to ban or outlaw the classes of compounds. Compound X and any variation of that compound, is now banned and illegal," said Kentucky State Representative John Tilley.

The issue now goes to the full house floor for consideration.

Many counties in our coverage area have already banned synthetic marijuana, and as House Bill 481 moves through the legislature, we were curious if those county bans were working.

Laurel County's ban has been in place for about a month.

They had received numerous complaints from schools about students using the substances, but Laurel County Sheriff John Root says the ban is working and most people are complying.

"There have been less complaints from school officials. We are not seeing it nothing like we were. We were seeing stores here in the local areas stocking it on their shelves and we are not seeing that," said Sheriff Root.

The sheriff's office did raid one store last week for non-compliance, but overall the sheriff says the ban is helping.

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