A Mobile-area lawmaker said he hopes to "fast track" a bill to ban herbal incense that's being smoked as a marijuana substitute.
The incense is known generally as "spice," but goes by many different brand names, and law-enforcement agencies warn that teenagers who smoke it can experience dangerous side effects.
"This is a chemical that is being abused," state Rep. James O. Gordon, D-Saraland, said in a news release about the bill. "The sooner we address this, then the more successful we will be in keeping it out of the hands of children."
Gordon's bill, HB697, would make it illegal to possess chemical compounds HU-210, JWH-018, JWH-073 and salvia divinorum.
With only about a week remaining in the Legislature's regular session, Gordon is aware that he'll have to push the bill as "an overall safety issue."
"It's one of those bills that the only one who would be against it would be someone who would do illegal drugs," Gordon said. "I think there's enough support in Montgomery to get it on the fast track."
Police have said that spice is cropping up locally.
At a town hall meeting Wednesday in Prichard, the city's interim police chief, Jimmie Gardner, said he had asked store owners to stop selling the leafy substance. Though he could not force it off the shelves, Gardner called his request "a first step."
The Drug Enforcement Administration lists various product names for the incense, which it describes as "stealth marijuana." Among them are "K2," "Spice Gold," "Spice Silver," "Spice Diamond," "Genie" and "Yucatan Fire."
As he held up a bag of it, Gardner told the crowd, "If you go and you find this in your child's room, you need to rid yourself of it because they're utilizing it in a way of getting high."
By David Ferrara
March 29, 2010