Milton has banned the sale, manufacture, use, delivery, purchase, possession or distribution of synthetic marijuana and opiate substitutes within the city.

City Council voted unanimously on the ban on Jan. 23, "to combat the risks associated with these unregulated products," according to a news release.

The goal of this ordinance is to bridge the gap between controlled substances and these substitutes.

"Synthetic marijuana is a natural herb that is treated with chemicals that mimic tetra-hydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, that evokes a marijuana-like psychotropic response," said the release.

"In our experience with these unregulated substances, they are very harmful and often fall into the hands of our youth," said Milton Police Chief Rich Austin.

"This law will allow us to make the product less accessible and will give us opportunities to engage in educational exchanges about the risks associated with these synthetics," said Austin.

Though Georgia law prohibits the sale, manufacture, use delivery, purchase, possession or distribution of controlled substances, opiate substitutes are not illegal under state law.

"These substances should not be readily accessible to our local youth," said Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood.

"I'm proud of the proactive efforts by our public safety personnel to protect the safety and welfare of all our citizens," said Lockwood.

Within the past year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings related to these products.

In Milton and surrounding areas, public safety personnel have responded to calls of youth being placed in danger by these substances due to the adverse reactions that these products can cause.

Businesses carrying the newly-banned substances will be given 30 days' notice to remove the all banned products from the premises.

After the 30-day period, Milton Police will have the authority to take appropriate enforcement action for non-compliance. Possession of the banned substance would be a misdemeanor penalty with a fine up to $1,500.

"The city is committed to both education and enforcement for our community," said City Manager Steve Krokoff.

"We're engaging with our local government peers to determine how we can help ensure the safety of all our residents until a broader state initiative can be explored," said Krokoff.

The Milton Police Department in partnership with the Milton communications department is aiming to educate local businesses and have plans to conduct community outreach efforts to educate local school personnel, parents and guardians, and students on this ordinance change and the associated penalties.

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