South Salt Lake police enforce new Spice law

Published: Saturday, March 12 2011 3:00 p.m. MST

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Police here went to all of the city's smoke shops Wednesday to educate owners about Utah's new Spice law, and seize any packages of the synthetic drug they could find.

Two weeks ago, Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill outlawing the sale of Spice, also known as synthetic marijuana, and bath salts such as Ivory Wave, used illegally as a kind of synthetic methamphetamine.

On Wednesday, South Salt Lake officers went to all 37 establishments in their city that had tobacco licenses. Detective Gary Keller said the main goal was to educate business owners and pass out literature concerning the state's new law.

But if officers saw Spice or bath salts in plain sight, they seized them, Keller said.

"We just want to get that off the street and make South Salt Lake a healthy environment for kids and juveniles," Keller said. 

No citations or arrests were made on Wednesday.

"We did it just as a benefit to business owners. We want to maintain a good working relationship," Keller said.

The owner of One Stop Smoke Shop, Raymond Abbas, said police confiscated about $2,000 worth of merchandise in the back of his shop.  

"I had no idea," Abbas said. "I didn't see it coming."

Abbas said the producers of Spice are now out of work and will be developing other products.

"The demand is there," he said, adding that people come daily asking for Spice.  

Under Utah's new law, possession of Spice is a class B misdemeanor. Distribution of Spice is a third-degree felony on a first arrest; however, and a second-degree felony on subsequent arrests.

Pat Reavy

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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