SALT LAKE CITY -- Synthetic forms of cannabis smoked like marijuana, as well as bath salts used like cocaine, will be illegal to buy or sell once the governor signs a bill sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer.
Froerer, R-Huntsville, said he sponsored House Bill 23 because "this is an Ogden-driven issue."
The bill was approved Wednesday on second reading by the Senate, with no debate, with 21 yes votes and eight absent.
Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, the co-sponsor of the bill, added an amendment that makes it illegal to sell or buy bath salts commonly known as Ivory Wave.
The Senate will give the bill another vote today before it goes back to the House to concur with Christensen's amendment.
Froerer said it should be on the governor's desk next week for a signature.
"We will put pressure on the governor to get him to sign (the bill) as soon as possible," he said.
Froerer said he sponsored the bill because of complaints he received from Ogden residents last fall when they learned a convenience store was selling synthetic forms of cannabis, also known as spice, to high school and elementary school-age students.
The product, when smoked, produces a high similar to that of marijuana, Froerer said.
"Citizens asked, 'Why do we regulate marijuana and can't regulate spice?' " Froerer said.
Ogden was the first city in Utah to ban spice ingredients. Other cities and counties have also banned the product, but some have not, so "a person can go from Kaysville to Weber County or to Salt Lake County" to buy it where it is legal, Froerer said.
Also, city ordinances did not allow law enforcement to charge more than a class A misdemeanor no matter how much of the synthetic cannabis a person has in their possession, Froerer said.
The new law allows law enforcement to charge a person with a felony, depending on the amount a person has and whether the person is selling it.