The Utah state legislative session will soon commence for the 2011 session. One of the items on the agenda – addressing a statewide ban on spice.
The bill, sponsored by Representative Gage Froere (R-Hundsville), plans to limit the manufacture, distribution and possession of the increasingly popular herbal substance known as spice.
Made of dried weeds and flowers and marketed for use as incense, the public started taking note when teens began smoking the herbal blend. Some say the need for regulation is vital because of the dangers associated with smoking spice. Because the herb contains synthetic cannabinoids, it gives off the same high that marijuana gives off. Further, the affects of spice on individuals choosing to get behind the wheel of a car are similar to drunk driving. Individuals high on spice are found to exhibit erratic driving behavior, swearing and decreased alertness. However, opponents of the new law say no concrete evidence exists to show spice is truly hazardous.
The bill, originally sponsored by Representative Gage Froere (R-Hundsville) has been passed onto the Health and Human Services Committee where they have completed drafting the legislation. Legislators plan to consider the bill January 24, 2011.
Details of the Utah Statewide Spice Bill
Specifically, the new law will modify the list of controlled substances under the Utah Controlled Substances Act and add “a controlled class of listed synthetic cannabinoids substances found in products often referred to as spice.”
Provisions of the bill include expanding the definition of a controlled substance to include synthetic cannabinoid substances and their analogs and homologs found in spice products as well as adding spice to the list of driver provisions about driving under the influence
However, certain persons who produce, possess, or administer the substance while engaging in medical research will be exempted from penalty under this new law. However, they must acquire a license to legally possess the controlled substance.
Two-thirds of the members of each house must approve the new law for it to pass. If approved, the bill goes to the governor’s desk for signing. Legislatures plan to implement the new law July 1, 2011.