• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 52s

Assembly passes ‘Spice’ ordinance

By Kirsten Swann 7:06 AM January 15, 2014

The ordinance approved by Anchorage Assembly members at Tuesday night’s meeting hones in on the packaging and labeling of the drug.

ANCHORAGE – After hearing a string of Anchorage residents speak up in favor of the measure, local lawmakers voted unanimously to tighten restrictions on the synthetic drug known as “Spice.”

The drug – often sold as potpourri or incense – is currently available at more than 20 retailers citywide. While the drug was prohibited by the state several years ago, the law focused on the chemical composition of the product and sellers were able to skirt the ban by changing the makeup of the drug.

The ordinance approved by Anchorage Assembly members at Tuesday night’s meeting hones in on the packaging and labeling of the drug.

According to the new law, synthetic drugs are defined as “any crystalline, liquid or powder product in crystalline, loose powder, block, tablet, tabs, paper, blotter paper or capsule form, or any stimulant-type product, when..the label is in any way false or misleading, or which does not contain a label specifying: the identity of the commodity; and the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor.”

The law penalizes both the sale and use of the drug.

During the public hearing preceeding the vote, the Anchorage residents and social service providers who testified all expressed support for the new law.

Many shared personal stories. David Rittenberg, a program manager at Brother Francis Shelter, said the shelter has seen a sharp upswing in Spice-related offenses over the past year. Because it fell in a “legal gray area,” Rittenberg said many shelter clients believed it was safe to use.

“The bottom line is that it’s a very, very dangerous drug,” he said.

Shawn Williams, a 34-year Anchorage resident and downtown business owner, told Assembly members he had recently seen a man pass out cold on the street outside his office after smoking Spice purchased from a shop a few blocks away.

“I just want to say that it really bothers me that there are approximately 20 businesses in Anchorage selling this stuff legally,” Williams said.

Ultimately, lawmakers agreed, voting to prohibit the sale of the drug in Anchorage shops. East Anchorage Assemblyman Adam Trombley was absent for the vote, and West Anchorage representative Patrick Flynn cast his vote by phone.

“Thrilled to vote yes, Mr. Chairman,” Flynn said.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Planning and Zoning Commission approves controversial road project, with conditions

    by Bonney Bowman on Oct 06, 13:45

    The Planning and Zoning Commission voted to approve the design of the controversial U-Med District road project, but with some additions to address safety and flooding concerns. The commission heard public testimony Monday night about the plan, which extends Bragaw Road into the district with a goal of easing congestion for drivers coming from the […]

  • DayBreak

    Fall fashion: Shoes

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 06, 11:35

    It’s the time of year for transition. It’s not too cold to go full winter boot just yet, but it’s not warm enough for ballet flats either. Kari Skinner with the Anchorage Fifth Avenue Mall joined Daybreak Tuesday with some boot options that will help you put your best foot forward this season. “If you’re […]

  • DayBreak

    Travel Tuesday: October activities close to Anchorage

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 06, 11:17

    Many parts of Alaska had an early blast of winter last week, but the calendar still says fall. October is a great time to grab a hoodie and the kids for some fun before winter officially arrives. Tuesday, Erin Kirkland with AK On the Go, joined Daybreak with some family-fun activities and destinations the whole […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage police seek man wanted on multiple felony warrants

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 06, 9:25

    ANCHORAGE – Anchorage police are looking for a 51-year-old man wanted on multiple felony warrants. James Daren Withrow is wanted on warrants for criminal mischief, stalking and violation of a domestic violence protective order. “Withrow is believed to be responsible for multiple cases of felony vandalism after damaging the property of at least five homes […]

  • News

    Inmate dies at Kenai correctional facility

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 06, 8:49

    An investigation is underway after an inmate died at a Kenai correctional facility Sunday. Paul Heppner, 45, died at the Wildwood Correctional Facility Sunday shortly before 5 p.m., according to a release from the Alaska Department of Corrections. Heppner, of North Pole, was booked for driving under the influence and third-degree assault charges. He had […]

  • News

    ‘Fairbanks Four’ wants convictions overturned

    by Associated Press on Oct 06, 7:08

    Four men who claim they were wrongly convicted of killing a Fairbanks teenager in 1997 are seeking post-conviction relief. The so-called “Fairbanks Four” were sentenced in the death 18 years ago of John Hartman. Three of those convicted are still serving time while one is on parole. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://is.gd/2cja0g) they are […]

  • News

    Turnagain Arm communities consider public safety options as troopers prepare to leave Girdwood

    by Daniella Rivera on Oct 05, 23:29

    Come Jan. 1, Alaska State Troopers will pull out of Girdwood due to budget cuts. Three troopers will still patrol the Seward Highway, but there will be no protection within the community. Girdwood is in negotiations now to contract with the Whittier Police Department, but three communities along the highway — Rainbow, Indian and Bird […]

  • Sports

    The cost of a title

    by Dave Goldman on Oct 05, 23:13

    The games play, but for a price. That’s the dilemma the Alaska School Activities Association faces. In 1990, it lost funding by the state forcing it to be self-sufficient. In order to put on the high school championships, it needs about $2 million every year. In stepped First National Bank. “If we didn’t have them, we just wouldn’t […]