While efforts are to ban the synthetic drug known by Spice, K2 and other names, the Canton Township Board of Trustees took emergency action Tuesday to ensure it stays off local shelves.
The board voted unanimously to ban the sale, possession and use of the substance, which often is sold at gas stations and liquor stores as an incense or potpourri.
Supervisor Phil LaJoy acknowledged tragedies in the area where the synthetic drugs were believed to be a culprit.
"The media is replete with stories of the frightening effect synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 and spice, and synthetic cocaine, also known as bath salts, have had on young people both locally and nationally," LaJoy said.
Most notably in the area, , 19, of Farmington Hills is believed to have been high on synthetic drugs in April when he attacked his family,.
The ban will prohibit the possession, use and trafficking of the substances effective June 21, when a legal notice with the new ordinance is published in the Eagle newspaper.
Trustee Greg Demopoulos, whom LaJoy said pushed for the ordinance, said he is glad the township is taking action
"Kids think it's a safe alternative (to marijuana) because it's sold in the store," he said.
Canton Township Public Safety Director Pat Nemecek said under the ordinance, offenders will face a misdemeanor citation of about $500 or 90 days in jail and the product will be confiscated by officers.
Nemecek said the department recently went undercover in the community and bought the substance at nine different stores.
He said he to each business urging removal of the product. When the department followed up with the nine stores, each business had removed the product.
"I think the pressure's on hot and heavy right now," Nemecek said. "The momentum (to ban the product statewide or nationally) is moving right now. We're looking for total compliance."
Treasurer Michelle McLaughlin said she supported the ban.
"A lot of young people are very casual about this (because) it doesn't have any THC (the hallucinogenic property in marijuana) in it," she said. "The sooner it gets out of everybody's hands, the better."
Canton resident Michael Hansel said he was concerned about whether someone could, after the ban, manufacture their own synthetic drugs using the same ingredients. He said he would support banning the ingredients.
McLaughlin said many of the ingredients, when used as intended, are innocuous, but when combined with the other chemicals sprayed into the synthetic drugs, it becomes a real danger.
"It's the end product that becomes the issue," she said.