• 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

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, March 30

    by Brett Shepard on Mar 30, 8:06

    Southcentral Mostly cloudy skies today with rain showers for the Prince William Sound and eastern Kenai Peninsula. Southeast Mostly cloudy skies with a chance of rain showers throughout the day. Interior Mostly to partly cloudy skies with mild temperatures. North Slope Mostly cloudy skies. Western Alaska A chance for a few rain and snow showers, […]

  • News

    Spenard Roadhouse owners expand to South Anchorage

    by Heather Hintze on Mar 30, 7:11

    “South” is coming to South Anchorage. That’s the name of a new restaurant from the owners of Snow City Cafe and Spenard Roadhouse. The restaurant not only features a bar and dining room but a separate coffee shop too. There’s also an outdoor patio and a private dining room for pop-up dinners or special events. “We […]

  • Politics

    Senate Judiciary Committee probes spike in Anchorage crime

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 30, 6:54

    A troubling picture about the surge in Anchorage violence was painted for the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday. The hearing came at the request of the Senate’s Anchorage minority members, but Sen. Lesil McGuire, chairman of the committee and an Anchorage Republican, scheduled it. Sen. Johnny Ellis thanked McGuire for carving out time to shine […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage police: Woman knocked unconscious, stabbed on Chester Creek bike trail

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 29, 19:50

    Anchorage police say a woman was knocked unconscious and stabbed Sunday afternoon on the Chester Creek bike trail in East Anchorage. At around 12:20 p.m., the Anchorage Police Department responded to the report. The victim told police she had just crossed the pedestrian bridge over Northern Lights Boulevard and was headed south toward Goose Lake. She […]

  • News

    Fresh out of certification testing, climbers called to rescue 3 from Matanuska Peak

    by Sierra Starks on Mar 29, 19:31

    It was two full days of testing and evaluation for nine climbers with the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, as they completed their reaccreditation. The testing, which included avalanche response, high-scale rescue and wilderness search, wrapped up Saturday evening. But that’s when the real training began, says 16-year AMRG volunteer Dean Knapp. AMRG’s Eric Huffman says he was “just […]

  • Crime

    20-year-old charged in fatal beating of brother in Venetie

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 29, 17:55

    A 20-year-old man has been charged in the death of his brother after allegedly clubbing him in the head earlier this month. “An autopsy indicated he had cracks to his skull,” the Associated Press reports. “And the left side of his brain had collapsed.” On March 12, Alaska State Troopers were notified that a man […]

  • Crime

    Sudan refugee concerned for his safety after vandalism outside his Spenard home

    by Sierra Starks on Mar 29, 15:34

    Mohammed Abdallai, who moved to Alaska almost five years ago as a refugee, says he is concerned for his safety after the vehicles outside of his home were vandalized. Words like “Get out,” “Go home” and “Leave Alaska,” among others, had been written on his green SUV and another vehicle outside of his residence in […]

  • Crime

    18-year-old injured in East Anchorage house party shooting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 29, 13:28

    An 18-year-old female was struck in the shoulder by a bullet after shots were fired outside of an East Anchorage house party early Sunday morning. The shooting occurred at about 2:15 a.m., police say. A large, private party was being held at a residence located at the 4500 block of Ninth Avenue, near Lane Street, […]