State Senator Nick Gautreaux is proposing a bill that would criminalize the possession of popular marijuana substitutes that are sold through out Acadiana.
The legal herb goes by many names, such as “Spice” and “K2”
"Just like alcohol, it causes deaths and wrecks and it's bad for you," Brandon Biho said.
Spice is sold as incense, but many people choose to smoke it.
"If you are not supposed to smoke it, then I guess that should be the word, then no body should mess with it," Biho said.
Smoke shops in the area, like Curious Goods, have been selling spice for about a year. People who use it say it provides the high they want without being illegal.
Alex Ford said, "I know a lot of people who use legal herb instead of smoking pot because it's legal and they don't have to worry about getting in trouble."
Beth Dupuis added, "I know personally people that would go get the illegal stuff, if they didn't have the legal stuff, so I'd rather them have something like that."
If the bill passes in the upcoming legislative session, it will result in the same penalties as possession of marijuana, which is a fine of up to $50,000 and anywhere from 5 to 30 years in jail.
"They are always going to come out with something for people to do," Ford said. "At least they are not huffing air duster or smoking crack, you know they are smoking legal herb."
For now spice and the other names it goes by remain on the shelves, but if the bill passes, they’ll become illegal August 15th.
By Melissa Hawkes
March 19, 2010