Reporter: David Tate
Roanoke Co., VA - Localities across the country are aggressively working to ban or have banned, a marijuana-like substance that is legal and now sold right here in the Heart of Virginia.
On Tuesday, Roanoke County passed a resolution called, "The Spice Resolution" as a first step in trying to get the product added to the list of controlled substances.
The new drug of choice, most commonly known as "Spice," is marketed as incense and contains warnings against human consumption. Regardless there's an all out craze that reportedly gives users a pot-like buzz after ingesting unregulated chemicals, a mixture that has legislators concerned about public health.
The herbal blend, sprayed with chemicals produces a euphoric buzz, doesn't show up on drug tests, and is perfectly legal.
Representing Vinton, Mike Altizer is leading the charge to make it illegal.
"You can call it a crusade... call it a mission but the ultimate goal is to get this substance outlawed in the state of Virginia," he said.
More than a half dozen states have outlawed it and Roanoke County wants to get the ball rolling to make it at least one more, so they've added it to their legislation request for the General Assembly and expect two Roanoke Valley lawmakers to take it to Richmond.
One batch of "Spice" was found just two blocks from Senator Ralph Smith's office, who will introduce legislation this fall.
"This is a bill that we will be presenting to the next session of the General Assembly. I think it would go through with very little opposition," Smith said.
The local DEA office says "Spice" has been on their radar since two Virginia Tech students overdosed on the concoction over the summer.
The agency is now collecting data for legislators like Altizer.
He plans on keeping "Spice" on his radar for as long as it takes to keep it out of his county's stores.
"It appears that greed a profit have taken over for public safety... and this is what this is. It's a total public safety issue," Altizer said.
The resolutions passed Tuesday in Roanoke County include a request to all Roanoke and New River Valley locales to follow suit.
The hope is that they can bring a "tsunami" of concern to Richmond in hopes of getting "Spice" banned as fast as possible, which includes getting a bill put into law even before the traditional "new law" date of July 1.