Military bans use of 'Spice' by warfighters
Three kinds of synthetic versions of marijuana that are sold as incense are pictured: Funky Green Stuff, Black Magic Smoke and K2. Turned over is a K2 bag, showing the content and a warning.

Spice is becoming a widespread problem throughout the military, said Capt Christopher Miller, chief of detectives at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. The product is not considered illegal in the civilian world; however, Col. David P. Anders, commander of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) has made it off limits for his Soldiers to purchase or use on or off duty.

Spice is the slang name for a mix of herbs laced with chemicals and marketed under different names. The product is sometimes marketed as potpourri but has hallucinogenic effects, said Miller. ''Spice acts like marijuana, is bought and sold like marijuana, used like marijuana, and has the same effects on the body as marijuana," he said.

''It's bordering on epidemic use in the military from the interviews we've done."

''That's telling me that Soldiers are doing spice and not doing any other drugs because they know they're not going to get caught," Miller said,

He also said spice is a bit less expensive than traditional cannabis, that Soldiers feel it's safer to buy and they won't get caught using it since it doesn't show up on urinalysis tests. Miller said some shops are even offering military discounts.

''Some servicemembers are actually purchasing it in their uniform."

At Fort Myer, Miller said his first Spice case was approximately one year ago. No one knew what it was but someone smelled it from a barracks hallway. ''We did a consent search and found this Spice product which is indeed marketed as a potpourri. It even says on the package it is not for human consumption but everyone's using it for what it's intended to do, and that's to get you high," he said.

Miller said he does know that the Air Force and Marine Corps have completely banned Spice.

''The Army, probably as a result from our investigation a year ago did a rampant revision to the Army's substance abuse program and said you can't take anything with the intended purpose of (and they used some big words like stupefaction or intoxication) getting high.

''They don't necessarily use the word Spice. That would be improper because it's marketed under probably 20 different names," said Miller.

''Fort Myer's regimental commander's policy says you can't use it. It's considered to be a lawful order," he said. Miller said the bottom line is we can't have our Soldiers, our servicemembers on duty at home or deployed getting high.

Page last updated Mon July 26th, 2010 at 12:23