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Sale of synthetic cocaine banned in Chicago

Chicago's city council approved on Wednesday a ban on the sale of synthetic cocaine, also known as bath salts. The ordinance follows a similar ban that went into effect in December for the sale of synthetic marijuana.

In presenting the ordinance, Ald. Ed Burke said it was needed to address a loophole in a similar statewide ban.

"Some bath salts are blatantly marketed as being legal because they simply do not contain the specific chemicals outlawed in the Illinois law," Burke said.

The ordinance classifies synthetic stimulants as substances that contain any chemical that mimics the effects of cocaine, methamphetamine and several other illegal drugs.

The Illinois Poison Center says that in 2011 three people in Illinois died from using these bath salts. Another 235 calls related to bath salt use were made to the center’s helpline.

Businesses that violate the ban could be fined up to $1,000 for each offense and could have their license suspended or revoked.

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