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'Fake pot' ban closer to becoming law

An anti-drug proposal rooted in south Washington County could soon become Minnesota law.

The Minnesota Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would make synthetic marijuana illegal in Minnesota. Democratic Sen. Katie Sieben of Cottage Grove, who sponsored the proposal, said the bill containing the so-called ban on "fake pot" must be reconciled with a similar House measure but is headed toward Gov. Mark Dayton's desk.

The proposal would make it a gross misdemeanor to sell synthetic marijuana and a misdemeanor to possess the product, which lawmakers and law enforcement officers say is sold legally as incense in smoke shops and convenience stores. However, proponents of the ban say the chemically altered herb is more potent than traditional marijuana and nearly caused the death of a Hastings teen last year.

Cottage Grove and Hastings police officers lobbied for the ban, citing an increase in teens' use of synthetic marijuana.

Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, sponsored the synthetic marijuana legislation in the House.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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