Potpourri and incense sold at local stores and used as dangerous alternatives to illegal drugs could soon be banned in St. Charles.
Officials are proposing an ordinance that would ban the sale, possession and use of synthetic drugs, or synthetic marijuana, in the city. Fines would range from $100 to $750, according to city documents.
“We don’t want this stuff to be sold here and we don’t want it available here,” said Chief Jim Lamkin.
Lamkin called the sale and use of these substances a public safety issue, saying there have been a number of reports—one as recent as this past weekend—where people have become violently ill after using the synthetic drugs.
The ordinance includes a nearly three page list of compounds and chemicals used in these types of products that would be subject to the ban. Currently, they are sold legally, often behind the counters of liquor stores, tobacco shops and gas stations.
“Some of them have ingredients that mirror illegal drugs,” Lamkin said.
, North Aurora and Sugar Grove have already banned the sale of these types of herbal incense and potpourri, commonly referred to as “synthetic marijuana.”
Illinois banned a similar substance, known by the brand name K2, at the beginning of 2011.
St. Charles police conducted a check of local stores for the K-2 product and, instead of that product, found that various other products were being sold under different brand names, Lamkin said.
Since January, police started receiving more calls of people having bad reactions to the substances, Lamkin said. On Nov. 5, St. Charles paramedics responded to an incident where a person started seizing after using one of these products.
“Based on what we see, there’s nothing good that comes from (these products),” Lamkin said.
In May, more than 150 bottles of one particular brand of potpourri were stolen in a smash and grab at Lundeen's Liquor, 610 E. Main St. Police said the thieves took the bottles but left behind the cash drawer.
An is pushing for legislation banning these substances after her son was killed in a car wreck. Earlier this month, Batavia Patch reported that also filed a lawsuit against a tobacco shop that sold her son Max a product called iAroma. Dobner believes that her son’s use of that product led to the June 14 crash that killed him.