Whitley County has now drafted an ordinance that would ban the sale and possession of K-2, or Spice, a product marketed as incense but used instead as a synthetic marijuana.
If passed, the ordinance would be the latest addition to several others in counties and cities throughout the state and nation. Several other states have also banned the sale of the product.
“My biggest concern is that we’ve got to do something in the county to discourage this,” said Mike Schrader, county commissioner chair.
According to Associated Press reports earlier this month, the Indiana General Assembly will likely take up the issue when it convenes for its next session and pass legislation that bans the product statewide.
Until then, though, the county’s ordinance will be a local deterrent.
“This is really a stopgap move,” said Dan Sigler, county attorney.
Unlike other ordinance violations, which are prosecuted by the county’s attorney, this ordinance would be enforced by the Whitley County Prosecutor and violators would go to Whitley Superior Court.
If passed, the ordinance would likely be adopted as an emergency ordinance, which would allow it to take effect in a few days, as opposed to the normal timeline of a few weeks for most ordinances.
The commissioners are trying to prevent the sale of the product in the county amid Fort Wayne’s passage of an ordinance and the chance that businesses that sell the product there will simply move to Whitley County.
“We’re not going to tolerate it either,” said Don Amber, county commissioner.
Although Whitley County’s ordinance would apply to all cities, towns and unincorporated areas, it would only be enforceable by deputies of the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, according to Sigler.
He said only county employees can enforce county ordinances, and likewise, sheriff’s deputies cannot enforce city or town ordinances.
Members of the Columbia City Common Council discussed the issue at a recent meeting, but will likely wait until a state ban is passed.