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Bills banning spice being prepared for legislative session

Bills banning spice being prepared for legislative session



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NORTHERN UTAH -- A number of bills that would ban spice are surfacing ahead of the 2011 Utah legislative session.

Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, told KSL Newsradio Friday he believes three to five bills are currently being worked on by various lawmakers.

One bill sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, would also seek to ban the precursors of the synthetic substance, which gives off a marijuana-like high. He says there are as many as 60 to 70 components, and that gives manufacturers wiggle room.

"Obviously there are a number of chemicals involved with it," Froerer said in a phone interview. "At the end of the day, I'm sure the bill will be structured so that those chemicals or derivatives thereof would not be legal substance."

Spice is a legal herb that can be found in smoke shops and convenience stores for anywhere between $13 and $26 a gram. Drug researcher and head of the Utah Addiction Center, Dr. Glen Hanson, says the herbs that make up spice are relatively mild. It's what's added to those herbs that makes it so potent.

Froerer does not believe spice will spring up again as a mom-and-pop industry because of the complexity of production, though he told KSL it was something lawmakers and police would have to watch.

Ogden, Cache County, and Utah County have all voted to ban the sale, use and possession of spice in recent months. Unified police have also announced an initiative to get rid of the substance in Salt Lake County.

Utah would not be the first state to ban spice. Froerer is examining laws in Kansas and North Carolina. Thursday, the Idaho Board of Pharmacy temporarily banned several of the chemicals used to produce the synthetic.

"It appears that we -- at least from the House members I've talked to -- have a desire to take some type of action," Froerer said.

Froerer plans to present a preliminary bill to an interim committee in November.

E-mail: aadams@ksl.com

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Andrew Adams

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