Spice, aka “fake weed,” is a synthetic form of cannabis. It’s often sold in gas stations and head shops as incense for scent burning, not for smoking. But this mix of legal medicinal herbs is said to have the same effects that cannabis or THC have when inhaled.
When you compare the effects of Spice to the effects of smoking marijuana, they are almost exactly alike. People may experience a dream-like state, dry mouth and throat, and an increase in heart rate and/or appetite. The only difference between the two is that Spice does not show up on a traditional drug test.
When Spice is used too much at one time, some people experience paranoia, hallucinations, impaired coordination, delayed reaction time, panic attacks, and diminished short-term memory. There have been incidences where people thought they had overdosed on Spice, and a small number of teens have even checked themselves into the hospital with a heartbeat of 140-160 beats per minute (bpm), well above the normal adult heart rate of 60–80 bpm. To date there are no known deaths due to the use of Spice, and the debate goes on about whether or not it is addictive.
Researchers show that Spice contains a variety of synthetic Cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds devised to produce marijuana-like effects. Cannabinoids attach to the THC receptors in the brain just like marijuana. Spice oftentimes also has other synthetic chemicals that are not printed on the label. These extra ingredients are being linked to symptoms such as anxiety, vomiting, lung disorders, and possibly seizures.
Simply having Spice is legal in most of Utah—for now. But although it is legal to possess Spice, it is not legal to smoke it, and this is where the confusion exists. Just because having the drug is legal doesn’t mean you can’t get in trouble for being impaired. The list of Utah cases where defendants have been cited for impairment while driving under the influence of this medicial herb is growing rapidly. Time to find a good Utah criminal defense attorney!
Lawmakers in Utah are trying to stop the advertisement and the sale of Spice statewide because of the effects of abusing its intended use. Eleven other States, U.S. military branches, and several countries have banned Spice already.
So far in Utah only Utah County has achieved any success blocking Spice’s alternate use, with an ordinance passed on Tuesday, August 31, 2010, prohibiting the use of any “substances which cause intoxication, inebriation, excitement, stupefaction or dulling of the nervous system.” The possession, sale or use of Spice in the unincorporated areas of Utah County is now a Class B misdemeanor with a possibility of 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine, ultimately resulting in the need to hire a Utah criminal defense attorney.
And so it starts. It’s only a matter of time before similar—or even stricter—laws and ordinances are passed in other parts of Utah prohibiting the sale, possession and use of Spice, potentially spreading statewide.