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Weber District bans legal incense

OGDEN — A northern Utah school district has banned a certain kind of legal incense that some say provides a high when it's smoked.

The Weber School District sent a note to parents saying that any student caught with the incense — sometimes called Black Mamba or "spice" — will be disciplined.

The offense will be treated the same as if the student brought an illegal drug to school. District officials consider the incense an "imitation controlled substance" that can't be carried, used or distributed on school property.

"There has been an outbreak, not only in our schools, but in the state and the nation as a whole," said district spokesman Nate Taggart.

The product, which is sold legally, contains damiana, an herbal shrub that some claim is a relaxant and an aphrodisiac.

"Most parents know nothing about it," Taggart said. "We want to make them aware that it is out there, that we've seen an increase, and it's a violation of our school policy."

Ogden Police Lt. Dave Tarran said that while damiana wouldn't show up in blood draws or breath tests used for alcohol and drugs, there could still be consequences for smoking it.

"We can cite them for being under the influence, but the difficulty would be showing what they are under the influence of," Tarran said.

Donna Corby, spokeswoman for the Ogden School District, said she hasn't heard about students there using the product.

But the district may have to consider the incense in a drug-testing policy under consideration for students who participate in extracurricular activities, Corby said.