The sale of chemically-treated herbs that mimic the effects of marijuana when smoked would be banned in Baltimore City under a measure proposed by a West Baltimore city councilwoman.
The herbs, sold under the branch names "K2" and "Spice" are available in shops that sell smoking accessories. They are marketed as a form of incense and are sold for as much as $20 a gram — far higher than the street value of marijuana.
The synthetic chemical that coats the leaves has an effect 10 to 15 times stronger than marijuana, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Smokers have reported nausea, racing heartbeats, muscle spasms and hallucinations.
Under the proposal, which Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton introduced at Monday's City Council meeting, a person who sells or possesses the substance could be charged with a misdemeanor, fined up to $500 and sentenced to as many as 60 days in prison.
Middleton said she modeled the bill after a measure that was approved by the Baltimore County Council earlier this month.
"We already have enough problems with drugs," said Middleton. "This is something we can stop early."
Middleton also introduced a resolution calling on the state legislature to ban the sale of the product.