Tucson city leaders set to debate new spice ordinance - Tucson News Now

Tucson city leaders set to debate new spice ordinance

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

The city of Tucson will debate a new ordinance next week which will increase the penalties for people who violate the spice prohibition.

Arizona has passed two laws in the past five years prohibiting the use, sell and manufacture of the synthetic cannabinoids.

But each time, drug makers change the formula, skirting the laws and that is why its been so difficult to keep up.

Tucson intends to supplement the state law and add EG-018, the newest cannabinoid on the market.

The new spice ordinance can be found HERE.

The state started to crackdown on synthetic pot as it was known in 2011.

Up until that time, it was legal to sell over the counter but a rash of bad outcomes put it on the list of controlled substances and it was banned.

That ban has had the desired effect.

Smiley Delgado, a long time transit user in Tucson, says he's seen a sharp drop off of users  at the Ronstadt Transit Center in downtown Tucson in recent years.

"You don't see too many young kids out there throwing up on themselves, having the ambulance come pick them up,"" he said. "So it's been pretty good, it's been cleaned up."

Another person who can attest to the effectiveness of the crackdown is the manager of the Sky Smoke House on grant Road,

"We don't sell it, we stopped a long time ago," said Mike Agyani. "May 2012, that's when it was banned."

He said it was a lucrative business. 

"When we opened at eight in the morning, there was a line around the building of people waiting to get in," he said. "I had two cashiers working full time."

In its heyday, the store employed six workers to keep up with demand.

Now, it's one employee.

Occasionally, someone will still come in and ask for spice but it's rare these days.

"The demand is way, way down," he said. 

These days Agyani tries to make a living out of selling hookahs, tobacco and smoking vapors. 

But it's hard.

When he started a decade ago there were a few smoke shops scattered around town. 

"Now, it's every corner has three, four smokeshops," he said. "There's no money in it anymore."

At 50 years old, he's thinking about retirement. 

The city council will continue its aggressive campaign with a vote on the ordinance next week.

MOBILE USERS: Download our Tucson News Now app for Apple and Android devices.

Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly