• 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

    Police: No violence on first day of president’s visit

    by Lauren Maxwell on Aug 31, 18:51

    Anchorage police say there was no violence or unrest associated with day one of President Barack Obama’s visit to Anchorage, despite a rally on the park strip by a coalition of environmental groups who oppose his views on arctic drilling. Rebecca Noblin, with the Center for Biodiversity, says she welcomes the president’s visit to Alaska […]

  • Crime

    AST: Palmer man arrested for meth lab discovered during fire

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 31, 17:29

    An outdoor residential fire in Palmer on Friday was connected to a methamphetamine lab, according to Alaska State Troopers. The Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit-MatSu responded to the fire on Gurn Circle at 12:30 p.m. Friday, along with several other agencies, according to an online trooper dispatch. A fully functional red phosphorous meth lab was found […]

  • News

    PHOTOS: President Obama visits Anchorage, Alaska

    by KTVA Web Staff on Aug 31, 17:25

    President Barack Obama’s visit to Alaska kicked off in Anchorage with his arrival at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Monday afternoon. The president disembarked from Air Force One with Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and greeted several dignitaries — including Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and first lady of Alaska Donna Walker — before taking a moment to […]

  • Sports

    Soldotna High breaks state winning streak record

    by Dave Leval on Aug 31, 16:56

    The Soldotna High School Stars football team sang its fight song before walking off the field at Service High School Sunday. They had reason to celebrate as the Stars had won yet another game. Soldotna crushed the Cougars 72-29 as the Stars ran their undefeated streak to a state record — 32 games. However it’s […]

  • Politics

    Alaska Supreme Court won’t block Medicaid expansion

    by Associated Press on Aug 31, 16:54

    The Alaska Supreme Court has refused to temporarily block the state of Alaska from expanding Medicaid. It’s a victory for Gov. Bill Walker, who announced this summer he was expanding Medicaid without the approval of the Legislature. Lawmakers sued after Walker announced he was going forward without their consent. On Friday, Superior Court Judge Frank […]

  • Sports

    ASBN High School Football Poll – Week Four

    by Dave Goldman on Aug 31, 15:13

    They’re both number one until someone says otherwise, more so until someone can beat them. West and Soldotna, each 3-0, reclaimed their top spots in the large and medium-small schools categories in this week’s Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network broadcast poll. West held off a late surge by Dimond, ending 18-13 on Friday while Soldotna left no […]

  • DayBreak

    Story Time with Aunt Phil, Aug. 31

    by Daybreak Staff on Aug 31, 14:36

    Author of the “Aunt Phil’s Trunk” book series Laurel Downing Bill joined Daybreak Monday with a history lesson on Metlakatla — the only reservation in Alaska. So, why did it opt out of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act? Watch the video above to learn more.

  • News

    Ohio Gov. Kasich opposes changing name of Mount McKinley

    by Associated Press on Aug 31, 13:31

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich disagrees with President Barack Obama’s decision to rename Mount McKinley as Denali, the name used by native Alaskans. Alaska’s governor and congressional delegation have praised the long-sought change, which was announced Sunday. But stripping the mountain of its name honoring former President William McKinley, a son of Ohio, drew criticism from […]