Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents confiscated more than 45,000 packets of synthetic cannabis, or so-called “spice” from Albuquerque sellers as part of Wednesday’s drug sweep.
The agents said everything from the way spice is made to the way it is tested is illegal, calling it drug dealing in stores.
But Independent Small Retail Business Association President Jerry Sedillo, who spoke on behalf of a smoke shop raided, took issue with the raid.
“We have nothing to hide,” Sedillo said as he defended the M&M Smoke Shop at Central and University, one of its members. “Our memberships do not sell bath salts, do not sell spice, they sell incense.”
But M&M was one of 16 places raided for the aforementioned synthetic substances.
And back in May, an undercover 4 On Your Side investigation revealed spice was being sold there.
But Sedillo claims their legal proof is in the testing of the substance.
“These are legitimate labs we send out samples to make sure there’s nothing banned in the substance,” Sedillo said.
He could not provide a specific laboratory’s name.
“The laboratories that are doing this – they’re breaking the law themselves,” DEA Agent Keith Brown said. “They’re accepting controlled substances from people that are not registered from DEA to have them.”
Smoke shops who sell spice and bath salts are operating under the false impression of quality control, when in fact, there is none, Brown said.
“These labs have sprung up to fulfill a need to provide that, ‘Oh no, these don’t contain these 12 chemicals,'” Brown said. “But they don’t put on their does not contain list that number 13 is actually there; they just say, ‘does not contain these 12.'”
But Sedillo said they are simply staying within the confines of the law. He said if the substance isn’t on the banned list, then it’s “perfectly legal.”
“This is more complicated than marijuana or meth, just as illegal, but it’s more complicated,” Brown said.