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Getting "Spice" off the streets and out of Tucson

Posted at 5:43 PM, Jul 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-31 01:34:24-04

It's being compared to meth -- but you can still buy forms of it at local smoke shops. But now, Ward 6 City Council Member Steve Kozachik wants to get "Spice" off the streets and out of Tucson.

"This stuff is really addictive, it's really harmful, and it has a significant effect on our public safety resources, it has a significant effect on emergency room resources," Kozachik said. "Most importantly though, it has an effect on the people taking it."

This comes just days after multiple drug raids in Pima County, where DEA Agents and Tucson Police seized more than 600 pounds of synthetic cannabinoids -- also known as "Spice."

Kozachik's plan is to create a broad, local ordinance to make sure to get ahead of the drug manufacturers to make sure it gets banned.

Aaron Gardner, the owner of Headhunters Smokeshop, wants "Spice" off the street just as much as the council member does. He compares the drug to meth, and says people often get upset when he says he doesn't sell it.

"The location on Stone, man, they probably come in five, ten times a day looking for it," he said. "They almost turn violent, when we tell them that we don't carry it. You know, they act like we're lying, like we're not telling them the truth, and they just don't want to hear it."

Kozachik's first step is having a study session in September to determine the language of the ordinance. He expects it to be effective at the end of September.

He believes the local government can get it off the streets faster than the federal and state government, because it's easier for the local authorities to change the wording of an ordinance.

The legislation he plans on proposing would expedite the process of banning newly found synthetic drugs, rather than having to go through a lengthy process that he says is usually a step behind the manufacturers.

"This isn't just a city of Tucson issue," he said. "New York City just passed a ban, San Diego just passed a ban. This is across the nation, and we want to intercept it locally here because we're quicker on our feet than the state is, and we're quicker on our feet than the feds are."