Anchorage Woman Fights Spice Epidemic with Cannabis

Anchorage Woman Fights Spice Epidemic with Cannabis

A woman in Anchorage, Alaska believes she knows the best way to combat the deadly synthetic marijuana epidemic that has crazed her town. By offering users dried cannabis flowers in exchange for their synthetic marijuana, also known as spice, Nicole Crites hopes to reduce the number of spice users on the street.

Spice, also referred to as K2, should not really be referred to as “synthetic marijuana” because it is not related to cannabis at all. Spice is just herbs that have been sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids. These synthetic chemicals are designed to imitate the the cannabinoids which occur naturally in cannabis and give users a sensation of being high that is different than that from marijuana.

Spice, which is among those listed as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, is not regulated and therefore offers no ingredients on the label for users to see what they are actually consuming. The effects of abuse can be devastatingly harmful and even fatal. Symptoms of spice overdose include vomiting, extreme agitation and psychotic episodes including hallucinations, and even heart attacks.

“Just driving down Karluk Street, anytime of day, you’ll find people passed out from it. I don’t see it addressed by anybody,”

stated Crites.

Nicole Crites

Crites reports that she has been thinking about this idea for quite some time, and she is now bringing her idea into reality. She plans to find spice users on the streets of Anchorage and offer them the chance to exchange it for free marijuana. For every gram of spice a user is willing to destroy in front of her, she will reward them with twice the amount in cannabis flowers.

The Anchorage Municipal Attorney’s Office has a much different outlook on the spice epidemic, and says Crites’ program is “potentially illegal.” Warning her of walking a legal fine line, the Anchorage police department has reached out to Crites to ensure she is aware of the laws. As long as she does not personally come into possession of the spice and the marijuana is given only as a gift to those who are of legal age to consume it, then she is not breaking the law.

Crites stated her first “spice destruction, harm reduction” exchange will go forth as planned, and that she does not anticipate halting the program anytime soon. She explained,

“I just need to go forward. If you feel like you’re doing something right, you do it.”

Crites is married to the the owner of Anchorage’s Absolutely Chronic Delivery Company, and their dispensary will be providing the cannabis to be donated in this marijuana exchange campaign.

The Third Time Really is the Charm for Legal Cannabis in Alaska

The Third Time Really is the Charm for Legal Cannabis in Alaska

Alaskan voters have had an on-again, off-again relationship with legal marijuana for years. The hard work campaigning and educating by the pro-marijuana advocates, this year, has finally come to fruition as yesterday, voters elected Alaska to be the fourth state to officially legalize the recreational use and retail sale of marijuana. Congratulations, Alaska, it has been a long and winding road!

In 1975, private possession of up to one ounce of marijuana was decriminalized in the state. Next, in 1998, Medical Marijuana was legalized. Then strangely in 1990, voters approved the Alaska Marijuana Criminalization Initiative, which re-criminalized possession of any amount of cannabis. Luckily for some, in 2003, the Alaska Court of Appeals overturned the Marijuana Criminalization Initiative, citing previous rulings as having precedence. That did not stop state legislators from once again attempting, unsuccessfully, to criminalize possession in 2006.

Measure 2, also known as the Act to Tax and Regulate the Production, Sale, and Use of Marijuana, the initiative that Alaskans passed yesterday, has been years in the making. Two other legalization initiatives have failed in the state, previously. In 2000, Measure 5 only won forty percent of the vote, and Measure 2 in 2004 only had forty-four percent support from voters. Yesterday, Measure 2, was approved by just over fifty-two percent of voters.

What does this mean for the residents of Alaska?

The bill does not become law until early 2015, but once in effect, it will legalize the recreational use of cannabis for adult residents aged twenty-one years or older, and regulate it similarly to alcohol. It also allows for the retail sale of marijuana by licensed dispensaries only. Of-age adults will be permitted to possess up to one ounces of dried marijuana flowers, and to cultivate up to six marijuana plants in a private residence.

Under this measure, the retail sale of cannabis will be regulated by the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. The control board still has nine months to establish rules and regulations regarding business licensing and operations. The state medical marijuana laws will remain unchanged.

In the meantime, although Alaskans may not be able to buy pot at a store, they should not have to worry about going to jail for measly marijuana possession…as long as it is not being used in public because that is still illegal.

The photos below show the excitement of pro-marijuana advocates campaigning in Alaska yesterday.

Alaska legalized marijuana

pro-marijuana advocates campaigning in Alaska on election day 2014

photocredit: Alaska Dispatch News

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