Ban On Sale Of Synthetic Drug spice

A 17-year-old urges people not to smoke it.

Calls for a ban on the sale of synthetic drugs known as “spice” is a good idea, according to one downtown Frederick merchant. Mary Jean Clark, is the owner of a tea shop along North Market Street called “Viola.” She says has seen large numbers of people come up to “Classic Cigars and British Goodies” to purchase this stuff. “Cars from all the surrounding states will be pulling up,” she says. “It’s like a quick drive-in window type of thing, where they park illegally, run into the store, buy it and run out. The cars are full. Sometimes there are babies in the backs of these cars. It’s just tragic what you see going on.”

“Classic Cigars and British Goodies” sells this material as potpourri, but its sale is limited to persons 18 and older. “However, if you stand in the middle of my store, which is two doors down, you watch transactions go down. You watch younger kids paying older kids to go in. It looks like drug deals,” Clark says.

She also says she’s seen kids using it, and then getting violently ill. “Well, they’re vomiting on the streets. They’re going into seizures,” she says.

As a result of this activity, Clark says she’s looking at her options, and may move out of the downtown.

Richard, a 17-year-old who did not want to give his last name, had a bad experience smoking “spice.” In March, 2011, he, his younger brother and a cousin tried this product, and he says they almost died. “All of three of us were sitting there on the couch. My little brother is puking. Our hearts are beating so fast we can see them, and it feels like they’re about to jump out of our throats. We thought we were about the die, literally,” he says. Richard also says all three of them were hallucinating.

Richard says he called Poison Control. “I wanted to see if we could sober up before she {his mother} got home,” he says. But, he says, Poison Control told him to call 911 before he went into cardiac arrest or had a heart attack.

Richard says it took a while for the affects of “spice” to wear off.

Clark says she’s heard similar stories from parents about their children using “spice,” especially at a recent community meeting with the Frederick Police Department. “One parent was struggling. Their child had been in trouble had been on probation, and said,you know, ‘nanny, nanny boo-boo! I’m going to do this!’ It’s legal, and they can’t test it in drug testing. Their kids are having adverse reactions, behavioral issues now,” she says.

Richard, who has not smoked “spice” since that day he had a bad reaction, says the product is available among high school students. “It’s pretty prevalent now. You’ll see it a lot with a lot of people that usually they can’t find real marijuana, and they don’t have anything else. So, this stuff seems so much easier to get,” he says.

Richard also talks to young people, urging them not to try “spice.” “Just take it for me. It can affect you negatively, and it can kill you,” he says.

The Town of Thurmont is considering an ordinance to ban the sale of this stuff, and some parents in Frederick want city officials to do the same. While some people may say that drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes kill more people than “spice,” Clark doesn’t agree with that comparison. “Alcohol and tobacco are long term use affects. They are addictive substances. They’re regulated; they’re heavily taxed. This product is not heavily taxed,” she says.

Clark says she would like to see this product banned, or heavily taxed and regulated.

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