WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A new law just went into effect outlawing synthetic marijuana in North Carolina, which is commonly known as spice.
Spice has been a big problem in recent years, particularly with Camp Lejeune Marines and high school students who smoked spice because it was easy to buy and didn't show up on drug screens.
Just over a year ago, Lejeune officials came to Wilmington asking for help from law enforcement, because their Marines were coming to town in droves to buy spice. The situation came to a head after a Marine who was high on spice jumped off a second story balcony because he thought he could fly.
Typically manufactured in China, experts say spice is dangerous and can cause people to become violent, even suicidal.
"There is absolutely no quality control over this," said New Hanover County Assistant District Attorney Tom Old. "We've just seen some devastating effects, here and in other areas of the country. It's a plague."
Until very recently, you could find spice for sale in local smoke shops and novelty stores. Often, it was sold in the form of incense. "[Store owners] would frequently say it wasn't for human consumption, yet sell it next to pipes and rolling papers, and if you talked to the clerks at these places, they were clearly telling people undercover that it could be smoked and make a good high," said District Attorney Ben David.
We went to several Wilmington smoke shops at the beginning of August, about a month after the law outlawing all forms of synthetic marijuana went into effect.
We didn't find any openly selling spice, perhaps because they are now aware of the criminal penalties of possessing, inhaling, or selling synthetic marijuana.
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