SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – The Utah Legislature recently passed a state-wide “spice” ban, and ABC 4 took action to see if the new law is being obeyed.
ABC 4 discovered that some stores in Utah are ignoring the ban.
ABC 4 went to a few stores on Tuesday and saw the synthetic drug on the shelves. One clerk even sold it.
This comes just hours after the US Drug Enforcement Agency put out a nationwide ban on spice.
ABC 4’s investigation began at the El Centenario Market in West Valley City, where guns and spice were only some of the goodies cops took from the store a few weeks ago.
When ABC 4 discovered that the store was back open, we took action to see if El Centenario was selling spice again.
On hidden camera, ABC 4’s Kelli O’Hara could see the drug behind the counter, but when she tried to buy it, the clerk wouldn't sell it.
When she asked again, employees took it off store shelves.
O’Hara tried other stores, and found business willing to sell.
“Can I get spice or whatever else you can sell that's like it?” asked O’Hara.
The clerk eventually offered up a substance called “White Widow” and sold it for $10.65.
The clerk told O’Hara “White Widow” was like spice, but was not actually spice.
Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder told ABC 4 that “like” spice is close enough to violate the ban.
“If it looks like, smells like spice and acts like spice then it's spice,” said Winder.
Winder wasn't too pleased with the results of ABC 4’s hidden camera investigation, and had a warning to the corner stores in his county that are conducting back room business.
“As we become aware of retailers that are distributing substances that are spice-like, our officers will investigate and arrest,” said Winder.
The sheriff added that even though spice and the new law are on his radar, there's a bit of a problem with taking action on the spot.
“This is a new law and with any new law, we have to work out the kinks,” said Winder.
The sheriff went on to explain that new laws take time to be flushed out, meaning the courts have to determine how people will be prosecuted and how the substance will be tested to determine if it's illegal.
“I think people need to know just simply passing a law doesn't solve it," said Winder.
ABC 4 gave Winder the spice that was purchased during the investigation.
Winder and ABC 4 do not suggest that people attempt to buy spice with the intent to whistle-blow on offenders.
Winder suggested that anyone with knowledge of spice distribution should notify authorities.