SAN DIEGO (CNS) - An emergency law that prohibits the manufacture, sale, distribution and possession of designer drugs like spice was unanimously approved Tuesday by the San Diego City Council.
The ban on federal Schedule I drugs, "novel synthetic drugs'' and "novel psychoactive drugs'' -- categories that include spice -- was initially approved last month, but the emergency designation allows it to take effect immediately.
RELATED: Report: Spice drug use on the rise in San Diego County
"The intent here is to save lives and get these poisons off the streets,'' Councilwoman Marti Emerald said.
The San Diego Police Department recommended the ban -- which does not apply to medical marijuana -- because of holes in state and federal regulations that are exploited by makers and sellers of so-called designer drugs. Only a handful of the 100 or so chemical formulas used to make the drug are prohibited.
City staff said emergency medical personnel responded to around 650 cases of medical distress caused by spice in San Diego between November and March.
On Monday, the San Diego Association of Governments reported that nearly half the juveniles and a quarter of the adults booked into county jails last
year admitted having tried the synthetic drug.
In other actions, the council gave final approval to a pair of ordinances that required second readings.
One of those measures makes permanent a requirement that owners of recreational vehicles, trailers and boats more than 27 feet long and 7 feet high need to obtain a permit before parking them on a street overnight. Such vehicles are also not allowed to be parked within 50 feet of an intersection at any time.
The second measure bans curbside parking along Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter on Friday and Saturday nights, in order to reduce traffic congestion in the busy area.
A tow-away zone will be instituted on Friday and Saturday nights between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m., along Fifth Avenue between Broadway and Harbor Drive. Nearly 125 parking spaces will be lost, according to city staff.
One of the main reasons behind the idea is to help drivers quickly load and unload passengers without double-parking and congesting traffic, according
to a city report.