SEMINOLE – City Council took the first step toward banning kava, kratom, contraband bath salts and synthetic cannabinoids at its March 13 meeting.

Councilors unanimously voted in favor of a bill banning these substances in the city upon its first reading.

A second reading of the bill will be held at a future council meeting.

 During the council’s annual retreat Jan. 7, members discussed regulation of kratom and kava, and directed City Attorney Jay Daigneault to draft an ordinance to regulate or ban the substances.

While researching the bill prior to drafting it, he determined a more comprehensive ordinance adding synthetic cannabinoid herbal incense and contraband bath salts to the list of substances to be banned was preferable.

During the March 13 meeting, he said there is no research indicating “what the long-term and short-term effects (of kratom and kava) are.”

He added, “We just don’t know.”

He said that though he can’t say banning these substances “is a widespread trend in municipal government,” some Florida municipalities, including the county of Sarasota, have.

Councilor Chris Burke, who works for the Largo Police Department, requested that Daigneault specifically add spice, a mix of herbs and man made materials, to the bill since it wouldn’t fall under the ordinance the way it is designed. He added that spice “causes the most trouble for law enforcement.”

Daigneault said he would add spice to the bill ahead of its second reading and vote by the council.

In other action items, the council also:

• approved the revision of the procedures the council and city boards use in quasi-judicial proceedings.

• authorized City Manager Ann Toney-Deal submit applications for the annual Florida Municipal Achievement Awards. The city will nominate the recreation department’s Digital Den for the City Spirit Award and the Community Emergency Response Team for the Florida Citizenship Award.

Toney-Deal also announced that Willie Jewells Old School Bar-B-Q has been issued an interior build-out permit and will begin work on its space in the Seminole City Center.