I returned to the United States after an extended sojourn in the Italian peninsula, and found I had a small quandary on my hands. Namely, pizza just did not taste good to me anymore. I’m not saying that I found pizza disgusting, or that I got sick of pizza. Heavens, no. Heresy. But I was sad to discover that the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave was in no way the home of a palatable thin-crust pepperoni-and-black-olive. Papa John’s? Deadbeat dad. Domino’s? DominNo, thank you. Little Caesar’s? Call Brutus.

You might not think that this relates to Spice. But, remember, cannabinoids and food go hand in hand.

In a short while, Spice, a synthetic cannnabinoid, will be illegal in the state of Utah. The legislation has already been passed. We’re just waiting on Governor Herbert’s signature. Some of you with random urine tests at work or lack of contact with dealers of real drugs are mourning the upcoming loss. However, as someone who has smoked both The Spice and its legitimate counterpart, marijuana, I greet this impending ban on the former with a big shrug and a muttered, “Whatever, man.”

Spice is alright in a pinch. For now, it’s available wherever there are fine smokeables, which provides more reliability than buying weed from your typical dirt merchant. It produces a calming, euphoric effect, like unto proper cannabis. All in all, the product’s similarity to the real thing and its  quasi-legality make it sound like we should fight to keep Spice legal at smoke shoppes across Utah.

But the major problem with Spice is it’s not marijuana, no matter how much we’d like it to be. And anyone who’s spent some time with Mary Jane knows the difference. It’s not nearly as potent, it burns more harshly, like tobacco, and it stinks like cheap incense – probably because of its “intended” use as an incense. Spice’s shoddy loophole was the explicit statement on the package that it was meant to be burned for olfactory purposes, not to be inhaled.

And who knows what you’re inhaling? The ingredients listed on the back of the package read like a final exam type nightmare for novice apothecaries. Moreover, recent laboratory analysis in Germany has found no trace of any of said listed ingredients. At least with marijuana you know what you’re getting – a naturally-growing plant, with few adverse after effects, that makes cartoons funnier. If you regularly smoke Spice, knowing that its chemical make-up is yet a mystery, you’re probably the guy who finds a half-eaten sandwich at the bus stop outside the homeless shelter, shrugs, and digs in.

If you are absolutely in love with Spice – if you like inhaling what is more than likely potpourri sprayed with aged dog urine, my advice would be to smoke it while you can. For the rest of you looking for a little pick-me-up, let me say this: I had to learn to once again love the crappy, preservative-laden pizzas of my birth nation. With nary a better option, I had no choice. But when it comes to getting righteously toasted, we don’t have to resort to strange, gross, less potent options. Humboldt County is two states away. Hell, there’s decent product right here in Happy Valley. Proper cannabis is readily available for your afternoon delight. Let’s all be good ourselves, shall we? Go big or go home, stoners.