Tupelo to take up 'Spice' ban today

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – By this time Wednesday, the synthetic marijuana known as Spice could be illegal within the city limits.
The City Council is expected to push ahead by two weeks its vote to ban the unregulated intoxicant, placing it on the action agenda
today at City Hall.
If passed, the ordinance would prohibit the sale, purchase, possession or use of the fake pot, which is readily available at area convenience stores and smoke shops.
Unlike most ordinances which go into effect 30 days after passage, this one would become law immediately.
“Kids think it’s OK because it’s legal,” said Ward 5 Councilman Jonny Davis. “But I think it’s more dangerous than marijuana because you don’t know what’s in it or what it’ll do to you.”
The substance consists of dried herbs sprayed with a synthetic chemical concoction that mimics the effects of marijuana. Many varieties exist, and none of them are regulated by the U.S. government.
Other council members also expressed support for the ban, but Ward 1 Councilman Markel Whittington on Monday questioned the city’s ability to police the sale or possession of Spice. He said it’d be too difficult to do.
Police Chief Tony Carleton, who last week had urged its swift passage, told Whittington that his officers would enforce the ban just like they would against any other narcotic.
Any shops that now sell the herbal blend also would be told immediately to stop carrying it. Businesses selling it outside the city limits, however, would not fall under the city’s ban.
Violator of the proposed ordinance could face up to $1,000 in fines and six months in jail.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.