State Representative Amanda Reeve Talks About Her Efforts to Control Spice in Arizona

Yesterday, we blogged about Arizona lawmakers' efforts to ban ten chemical compounds commonly found in spice, also known as "herbal incense" and "synthetic marijuana."

Arizona State Representative Amanda Reeve (R) sponsored House Bill 2167, which would broaden the definition of "dangerous drugs" to include the ten compounds. Reeve said she'd heard about the effects of spice from state representative Matt Heinz, who is also a doctor and practicing physician at Tucson Medical Center.

"He told me stories about patients in the ER suffering from paralysis, loss of speech, and other adverse effects from spice," Reeve says. "What bothers me is everybody was calling it 'synthetic marijuana,' which made it sound harmless...I don't think marijuana is harmless, but this stuff is way worse." 

So when Heinz asked Reeve to help him sponsor House Bill 2167, she was more than happy to do so. The House Judiciary Committee voted for the bill unanimously during their January 20 session. It will head to the senate for approval next, and if approved, will ultimately end up on the desk of Governor Jan Brewer.

Reeve says as she was leaving a meeting yesterday, a man stopped her and thanked her for sponsoring a bill that would ban more spice compounds. "He said he was one of the stupid people who tried it, and that he had three days of visual disturbances and trouble with motor skills," Reeve says.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration has already instituted an emergency, 12-month ban on five of the chemical compounds most commonly used in spice. Arizona's House Bill 2167 seeks to ban ten chemical compounds used in spice.

"The ten compounds in the bill have no beneficial use," Reeve says. "We had somebody at the state crime lab help us discern which compounds are actually used for something other than spice, and if they were used for any kind of medical benefit, we left them out. But the compounds we're seeking to ban have no other use than to spray on spice so people can get high."

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea

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