A new law banning synthetic marijuana in Chicago began Wednesday. A similar state law takes effect Jan. 1, 2012. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says Chicago's new ban on the sale of synthetic marijuana products — and the soon-to-take-effect state law — are both needed steps against a dangerous trend.
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Under the law, any business selling synthetic marijuana products must remove those products from its shelves. Violators will face fines from $500 to $1,000 and could have their business licenses revoked. The smokeable herbal products have gained popularity among teenagers and young adults. They've been sold as incense under the names K2 and Head Trip. They're typically plant material that has been spiked with research chemicals that imitate the active ingredient in marijuana. The Illinois law will ban the products statewide, and those caught selling it will face felony charges. The state has a law that bans certain chemicals found in the fake pot, but Madigan says manufacturers have complied with the law by using different chemicals.