Tucson city leaders to consider crackdown on spice sales - Tucson News Now

Tucson city leaders to consider crackdown on spice sales

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Soon after several local stores in Tucson were raided by local and federal agents for the sale and distribution of spice, a few city leaders called for a larger discussion about combating the synthetic drug's presence in the Old Pueblo.

A memo from council members Steve Kozachik, Regina Romero and Richard Fimbres is the reason for Tucson City Council formally working through potential changes to local ordinances in an effort to reduce the effect of spice on Tucson.

Kozachik said Monday night that city leaders have several ways to fight spice on the local level, but it's a matter of what everyone can agree upon and what the city attorney supports as legally sound.

When it comes to enforcement, Kozachik said the focus is on the supplier and the manufacture of spice. He said stores could be hit with misdemeanors because they'd be considered public health nuisances.

"This is absolutely a public nuisance issue, we've got TPD rolling on calls on this all the time," he said. "We've got paramedics rolling on calls on this all the time. We've got emergency room's who are getting guys in their emergency room and all they can do is stand there and wait for them to come off the stuff."

An issue with outlawing spice altogether is that the manufacturers tweak the chemical makeup of the product in order to change it enough so that it's technically no longer illegal.

Kozachik said the issue is more easily tackled at the local level because city council meets more often than state or federal leaders, so they can update Tucson's list of banned substances and keep up with the ever-changing compounds.

While sellers are targeted with enforcement, Kozachik said users would be offered treatment and rehabilitation. He said many users are not even aware of what is in the substance that they are ingesting.

Finally, Kozachik said there needs to be an improved education campaign by the City of Tucson. He said he's met with plenty of parents with young children who are unaware of how readily available and how dangerous spice is.

"I don't know what alternate reality they seem to be living in," said Kozachik. "We've had it all over the press and parents still don't quite get the significance of the fact that these products, even the ones that are being sold over-the-counter, are killing their kids."

Kozachik said all of the changes can be made without adding any additional costs to city staff or the Tucson Police Department. The issue will be discussed on Wednesday, Sept. 7. 

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