NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY.com) - The military wants to ban synthetic marijuana sellers, and heard from local retailers selling Spice on Thursday.
Former Marine, Andy Martin drove an hour and a half to get to Lazy Dayz Hookah Lounge in Newport News.
"Keeps kids from running out on the streets, doing drugs, you can come in here, lounge, get a hookah, get on your laptop, sit on a couch with your friends and do your thing," said Martin.
The Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board heard from business owners selling Spice.
"It was part public flogging, part sincere information seeking," said Lazy Dayz Owner Jay Sedwick.
Sedwick and co-owner Andrew Erickson presented their side. "We don't sell to people in uniform or fatigues or anyone that has a military ID," said the owners.
The Military said it will put Lazy Dayz and any other business on the "off limits" list if it doesn't stop selling Spice. Spice is on the military's zero tolerance policy. It's packaged and sold as an incense, but when smoked, acts like marijuana.
Andy Martin showed WAVY.com the kind he likes.
"It's comatose candy," said Martin.
Comatose candy is just one brand of Spice.
Lazy Dayz owners said it's unfair for the military to put them on the off limits list, especially since they say servicemembers are a huge part of their clientele.
"With service men and women coming back from Iraq, Dubai, Afghanistan, Hookah smoking is a big hobby over there," said Sedwick.
So, why not stop selling Spice?
"They definitely asked us that, there's a huge demand for it, we're in America we shouldn't have to choose one market over another," said Sedwick.
Sedwick and Erickson believe if the military bans all the big spice selling shops, service members will likely buy spice from smaller shops and gas stations, that they say could sell a more dangerous counterfeit version of the product.
"I hope they'll see our side and will take into consideration what we said," said Sedwick.
Lazy Dayz does not allow customers to smoke spice in the Hookah lounge.
The Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board will make a recommendation to the Regional Commander next week.
The admiral will then make the final decision and a letter will be sent to the business.
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