The New York City Council unanimously passed legislation Wednesday banning the manufacture and sale of synthetic marijuana, also known as K-2.

The vote was 44-0.

Hospital emergency rooms have seen a spike in visits from the use of K-2, a cheap drug increasingly popular with varied groups, including teenagers and the homeless.

K-2 is sometimes sold under the names Scooby Snax, Spice and other brands that bill backers say are meant to attract young people.

Although New York State law already bans the drug, the council leadership says some manufacturers are skirting the law by altering the chemical additives in the product.

Mayor Bill de Blasio "supports the council's efforts to shut down sellers and strengthen penalties," said a spokeswoman, Monica Klein.

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The legislation -- three bills -- seeks to close those loopholes and employ nuisance laws to target stores and vendors that sell K-2. Violators face fines, business closure or jail time.

One of the bills calls for the suspension of a cigarette-dealer license for those caught peddling K-2.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a Democrat who supports decriminalization of conventional marijuana, said that the laws do not target the users of K-2, but rather the businesses that sell the drug.

She said that substances like K-2 emerge as a result of marijuana's illegal status.

"I think when you start prohibiting certain things," Mark-Viverito said, "people look for alternatives."