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Vitale Tackles 'Spice' with New Legislation

The bill would categorize synthetic marijuana in the same group as marijuana, mescaline, and LSD.

Delegate Cathy Vitale (R-Severna Park) is introducing a bill Tuesday that would give law enforcement a better grip on the spread of synthetic cannabinoids, commonly called "spice."

Vitale's House Bill 482 cracks down on how the substance is categorized by police, labeling it a Schedule I drug—the same category as marijuana, mescaline, and LSD.

The Severna Park delegate has called spice an epidemic, saying action needed to be taken now to prevent its spread. Her criticism is joined by 15 other delegates who are listed as co-sponsors on the bill.

"Under Vitale's legislation, manufacturers will be required to label imitation marijuana products so law enforcement can seize those products which produce the euphoric butdangerous mind-altering effects of marijuana," according to a release.

Vitale has met with members of the Anne Arundel County Police Department to find out what could be done to limit the spread of the substance that has become a popular alternative to marijuana.

Usage of spice has increased by nearly 300 percent in the number of reported cases between 2010-2011, according to a release from Vitale. 

Vitale said something needed to be done through legislation, because spice was slipping through the fingers of law enforcement.

"Current law fails to include language sufficient enough to get ahead of the onslaught of synthetic compounds created each day," she said. "Forty-eight percent of cases reported in 2012 involved students between the ages of 13 and 19."

It isn't the first time spice has taken center stage in Anne Arundel County. In December 2012, The Capital Gazette published the results of their investigation into the proliferation of spice among midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy.

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scott morison February 05, 2013 at 09:34 PM
lets focus on violent crime and not create false criminals by legislating personal choice!!!! bad choice, time for the old gaurd to move on
scott morison February 07, 2013 at 02:28 PM
When you outlaw harmless recreational drugs, you create crime, you create black markets, you create violence among those fighting to control the black markets, you waste police and other costly resources enforcing the laws and put harmless citizens in crowded prisons with violent offenders.... To label Marijuana and Spice in the same category as LSD is ridiculous. The most dangerous drug in our society is Alcohol, yet we are allowed to buy it and consume it... Making harmless recreational drugs illegal, is a only adding to the cost of the legal system and perpetuating crime.... We could be taxing the sale of items like spice and marijuana and raising revenue, reducing over crowding in prisons and putting a hurt on the black marketeers that benefit from these ridiculous laws.... It's time to move out of dark ages and get some sensible people in office.... Or let's just make everything illegal: When Marriage is outlawed, only out-laws will have in-laws.... Vote no on House Bill 482 !!!

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