El Cajon City Council Bans Bath Salts

Bath salts have been in the news quite a bit lately, and it appeared for a while that it was the new designer drug for 2012. The reports have catalogued numerous instances of bizarre behavior blamed on this substance. Those reports include people attempting to eat the flesh of others, jumping off bridges, and parading naked in public, among others. In San Diego County’s City of El Cajon, six people were hospitalized over a twelve month period after consuming one or another form of the substance.

Federal and state legislators have made various attempts to ban the drug, but they have encountered a problem. As specific chemical ingredients have been outlawed, those producing the drug have altered the recipe, and continued to manufacture substances which produce the same or similar results. The El Cajon ordinance is an attempt to reach chemical combinations that have been tweaked just enough to allow them to fall outside existing bans on the state and federal level.

Bath salts, so named because they resemble in appearance bathing products such as epsom salts, include numerous substances whose effects mirror to a large degree those produced by cocaine and amphetamine. While the primary ingredient is thought by many to be methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), a drug with psychoactive and stimulant properties, variations have been produced since MDPV was banned that substitute other substances for the original.

Because the chemical makeup of the drug has changed over time, one form or another continues to be sold legally in many places. These and similar drugs are marketed as incense, aromatics, bath salts (under names such as “Ivory Wave” and “Blue Silk”), spice, and K2. In an effort to thwart this practice, the City of El Cajon has enacted an ordinance which creates a wholesale ban on “synthetic stimulants” and “synthetic cannabinoids” as a public nuisance.

In September, letters were delivered to almost 150 retails stores in the city advising them of the new prohibition. The establishments included liquor stores, grocery stores, and smoke shops. While the ordinance currently only sets forth civil penalties for a violation, those penalties can include fines of up to $2,500. In addition, law enforcement can shut down any establishment engaged in selling products containing the banned substances.

Law Offices of David Shapiro
1501 5th Ave, #200,
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 295-3555

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