• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 3s

‘Spice shops’ risk fines

By KTVA Alaska 10:43 PM January 16, 2014

New law means $500 tickets for stores and people in possession of synthetic drugs

ANCHORAGE – It’s official. Any business or person caught selling or using synthetic drugs can now be fined $500 per individual packet or container.

The new ordinance was passed Tuesday night by the Anchorage Assembly and signed into law Thursday.

The law bans all synthetic drugs, be it spice, bath salts, potpourri or whatever manufacturers may rename it in an attempt to skirt the law.

This is actually the second ordinance passed in an effort to combat synthetic drug usage in Anchorage. Only this time around, wording covers all items sold for the purpose of human consumption that contain misleading labeling, omit ingredients lists and leave out manufacturer’s information — as opposed to the first, not-so-effective law that outlawed specific ingredients in these now-illicit substances.

Municipal prosecutor Cynthia Franklin said there are 23 businesses in Anchorage that sell synthetic drugs.

Franklin said this new law means police can enter any one of these locations and cite the store $500 for every single synthetic drug packet or container they find. If authorities believe store workers are hiding these products, Franklin said, they will obtain a search warrant to look further.

While many area businesses have been cashing in on the use of these dangerous substances, others have not and have lost customers that migrated to other businesses selling synthetics.

One of those shop owners is Deneen Tuck. She said she hopes this new ban will bring the business back she lost when these substances hit the scene.

Tuck owns Sourdough Tobacco and Internet in Downtown Anchorage. She has not and will not ever sell synthetic drugs, she said.

“I don’t want to watch the news at night and find myself wondering, ‘is that a kid I sold spice to?'” Tuck said.  “No, I want to be able to go to sleep.”

Tuck said even though the loss of customers to “spice shops” has taken a bite out of her business, she believes this is a moral issue.

“It’s just my morals, my ethics, how I sleep at night and what my integrity is,” Tuck said. “There’s certain costs that it’s not worth making that dollar.”

Tuck said she doesn’t want any of what she considers blood money, lost to shops like Tudor Smoke Shop and Smoker’s Choice. It’s been two days since the Anchorage Assembly passed this new ban on synthetics, yet these two shops still have the products proudly on display.

One manager of Tudor Smoke Shop said the new law hadn’t been signed, so she didn’t believe it was in effect. Franklin said otherwise.

“It’s signed. It’s right here,” Franklin said pointing to the signature affixed on the ordinance. “We have a tool and we’re going to use it. We’re going to continue to use other tools, too, but we’re going to use this one right now.”

Enforcement that Tuck hopes will mean a business boom for Sourdough Tobacco and Internet and shops alike.

“Hopefully, you know I’ll regain some of the customers,” Tuck said. “And the smoke shop owners who didn’t have a conscious who were selling this just to make the dollar, I hope they go out of business because they didn’t care about these children’s lives or their families. Money is not always the value of what integrity is.”

Franklin said while this may be the second ordinance passed to help combat synthetic drug use, it won’t be the last.   Expect another ordinance to pass over the next few months that’ll make these substances even more difficult to get a hold of, she said.

Until synthetic drugs are completely off of Anchorage streets, Franklin said, they will remain a top priority for area lawmakers and law enforcement.

Latest Stories

  • Sports

    Still 2 months away, Copper Basin 300 is off to a good start

    by Dave Goldman on Oct 26, 22:47

    It’s beginning to look a lot like sled dog racing season. The recent winter weather has put a spring in the step of those who organize the Copper Basin 300 sled dog race. Up to eight inches of snow fell last week in the Glennallen area, the Valley and the Copper River Basin. It was followed by frigid temperatures, ensuring the […]

  • ‘Somebody saw something’: Family of Government Hill homicide victim seeks answers

    by Daniella Rivera on Oct 26, 21:49

    As Anchorage police investigate the 28th homicide of the year, the family of 29-year-old victim Ian Alexander Bobich is making a desperate plea for help. Just before 11 p.m. on Monday, police dispatch received several calls from people in the area reporting gunshots near Elm Street and East Bluff Drive. When officers arrived, they found Bobich […]

  • Politics

    Historic US Senate debate in Barrow focuses on the Arctic

    by Rhonda McBride on Oct 26, 21:32

    Organizers billed it as the first ever U.S. Senate debate held above the Arctic Circle. Sen. Lisa Murkowski faced three challengers on the stage at the Barrow High School auditorium on Wednesday. But even before the candidates had a chance to engage, there was a distinctly different flavor to this debate, which began with a prayer […]

  • News

    Neighborhood app highlights trick-or-treating hot spots

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 26, 21:14

    Alaskans can find the best spots to trick or treat this Halloween, thanks to the online “neighborhood” Nextdoor. Nextdoor is a social media site and app that connects neighbors for things like events, yard sales, missing pets and even local crime. For Halloween, it’s promoting a treat map showing other Nextdoor users who have indicated they […]

  • Lifestyle

    Teal pumpkins raise awareness about trick-or-treaters with food allergies

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 26, 20:10

    Halloween is right around the corner and doctors are urging parents to stock up on toys—in addition to candy—to give out to trick-or-treaters. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a growing effort to raise awareness about kids with food allergies. The Alaska branch of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America hosted a painting party for children […]

  • Politics

    Behind the Ballot: Margaret Stock for U.S. Senate

    by Liz Raines on Oct 26, 20:01

    She’s never held political office before, but she has held some high level positions in the U.S. Army, including work in the Pentagon. Now, Margaret Stock is challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski for a ticket back to Washington D.C. Stock is a self-proclaimed “party crasher.” The former Republican, now turned Independent, promises to cut through the […]

  • News

    Pakistan arrests National Geographic’s famed ‘Afghan girl’

    by Associated Press on Oct 26, 18:40

    PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A Pakistani investigator says the police have arrested National Geographic’s famed green-eyed ‘Afghan Girl’ for having a fake Pakistani identity card. Shahid Ilyas from the Federal Investigation Agency, says the police arrested Sharbat Gula during a raid on Wednesday at a home in Peshawar. Gula was an Afghan refugee girl when she […]

  • Lifestyle

    Bridge replacements underway along Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 26, 18:37

    Updated at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26 If you enjoy walking, running or biking on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, get ready for some detours. Work began to replace two bridges on the trail, starting with the Sisson Loop bridge at mile 6.6 of the trail on Oct. 17. Work on the Fish Creek […]