Gainesville votes to move toward synthetic drug ban

GAINESVILLE, Fla. —Gainesville wants to rid the city of synthetic drugs like "spice" and bath salts after dozens of people were hospitalized last year after ingesting the substances.

The Gainesville City Commission has approved an ordinance that would prohibit the possession of the drugs with intent to sell and bar the displays advertising their sale and manufacture. A second vote is required for its passage.

The Gainesville Sun reports that more than 30 people were hospitalized in Gainesville with problems such as seizures and vomiting after they smoked spice, which is synthetic marijuana.

Under the ordinance, violators would face a fine and a possible lien on their property.

Gainesville police say the ordinance empowers the city to go after drugs based on their packaging, not just their chemical makeup.