MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) Mobile Police Chief James Barber is cracking down on synthetic marijuana also known as spice–and he is targeting the businesses that sell it.
“This is a major health issue that is occurring with in our community,” said Barber.
Barber is trying to get ahead of the rapidly growing problem and says he needs the city’s help.
“What we are seeing now is about 10 times more potent than what was on the market previously and so….what was on the market before was a serious safety and health issue to begin with,” said Barber.
The numbers continue to rise. Barber says in a two week period 65 emergency room visits were directly linked to spice-related medical emergencies.
Some people are getting the drug from licensed businesses in Mobile and that is one of Barber’s biggest frustrations.
“When we find legitimate licensed businesses within the city of Mobile that are participating and facilitating the sale or transfer of this type of narcotic I’m not in a position where I can shut that business down or suspend the license. It will take me at least two weeks in order to stop this business from operating,” said Barber.
Barber made his case before the city council this morning. He is asking for some help cutting through the red tape. City council member Gina Gregory is on board.
“Of course we have to follow the law. And that is what Mr. Rossler (city council’s legal counsel) was warning us about. You can’t just shut down one of these stores because someone has been arrested. We are going to do all we can in our power to make it easier for our police officers to do their jobs and to prevent this stuff from getting on the streets,” said Gregory