Pennsylvania now has a new law on the books banning so-called 'bath salts' and other synthetic designer drugs.
The drugs may sound innocent, but Berks County District Attorney John Adams said they can cause delusions, hallucinations and, sometimes, violent behavior.
"We have been tracking it and we haven't had a lot," said Adams. "We've had some and we know that without this legislation these incidents would increase."
Gov. Tom Corbett signed the ban into law Thursday.
"Bath salts that have nothing to do with taking a bath or spas, are designer drugs with effects comparable to cocaine or methamphetamine," said Corbett.
The governor said the previously legal drugs are to blame for several cases of violence across the state.
"Users sometimes experience agitation, paranoia, hallucinations and often commit violent acts while ingesting or using these substances," said Corbett.
"We have had here in Berks County a shooting in which the person who committed the shooting was high on a synthetic marijuana," said Adams.
Adams said synthetic drugs haven't been a huge problem for Berks County, but he is joining the governor in asking businesses to stop selling them before the law goes into effect in late August.
"We're going to be asking all merchants to pull it off their shelves to not sell it," said Adams. "This is something they'll have to eat from their profit center."
Under the new law, possession will carry a penalty up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. Possession with the attempt to deliver will carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
"The mere possession of it will be illegal and there will be stiffer penalties for those who sell it," said Adams.
Pennsylvania joins at least 20 other states that have similar laws banning the drugs.
Allentown, PA 18102