Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

Orem joins the list of cities that have banned spice

A recent ruling has outlawed the possession and sale of Spice in Orem – and not the kind that you dash on your meat and potatoes in an effort to add variation to your cuisine. For those who have been in the dark, spice is a blend of dried herbs sprayed with a synthetic cannabinoid compound to mimic the effects and act as substitute to its highly known and longtime illegalized stepbrother, marijuana.

The Orem City Council passed a law prohibiting the sale and possession of spice on Jan. 13 and gave warning to all tobacco shops and retailers to sell out the rest of their stock or return it by Jan. 17. After the 17th, Orem will be considered officially “spice free” in the eyes of city lawmakers.

Although it may not be the primary forte of most tobacco retailers, many store workers say that it will still weigh a noticeable impact on their businesses. “Half of the phone calls we get a day are usually about spice,” said a clerk from the smoke shop Stogies in Orem. “With this ban, customers are more than likely going to go to other cities and surrounding areas for spice purchases, possibly for their tobacco purchases as well.”

Despite this objection, most city legislators from neighboring cities are thinking of following suit along with Orem’s ruling, as well as the rulings of Salt Lake City, Ogden, Cache County and Davis County – the frontrunners of spice illegalization.

While predicting a possible detriment to business, the employee at Stogies reported a backhanded positive aspect of the ruling: spice’s preexistent lack of regulation and the relative consequences of it.

“I understand they can’t regulate it as well [as other substances] when you consider the negative effects; such as that on minors and potential DUIs it would cause.”
With a different mindset than in 2010, when they tried to propose bills regulating it, most state legislators are now working on developing bills that will enforce a statewide ban on spice, perhaps following the lead of Arizona, which enforced a statewide ban on the substance late in November of 2010.

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