NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The Navy announced Thursday that, effective immediately, ten local businesses are off-limits to all military personnel because officials say the retailers sell "Spice" which mimics marijuana's effects.
The businesses are:
Hampton Pipe and Tobacco, 86 W. Mercury Blvd.
Somewhere in Time, 92 W. Mercury Blvd.
Newport News -
Lazy Days 731 J. Clyde Morris Boulevard, Suite B
Fantasy Inc. 10117 Jefferson Ave.
Hampton Pipe and Tobacco 15435-B Warwick Blvd.
Outer Edge Gifts 760-B J. Clyde Morris Blvd.
Tobacco Plus 2, 3611 Tidewater Dr.
Skinnie's Records, 431 West 22nd St.
Virginia Beach -
Papa Joes Smoke Shop, 800 S. Lynnhaven Road
Mellow Smoke Tobacco Shop, 1948 Diamond Springs Rd.
The businesses were placed on the 'off-limits' list by Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, upon the recommendation of the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board (AFDCB) of Southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina.
For sailors, "violating that order could be violating the UCNG and you could be punished under court marshal or through different administrative measures," Commander Frank Hutchinson told WAVY News 10.
According to the military, the businesses were declared off-limits because they engage in the sale of controlled substance analogues and designer drugs such as "Spice."
"Spice" is also known as K2, "Genie" and "Zohai" and is sold as incense. Produced in China and Korea, the mixture of herbs and spices is sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Users roll it up in joints or inhale it from pipes, just like the real thing.
The military has banned the use and possession of controlled substance analogues such as Spice because of the dangers they pose to service members.
"The goal really is to stop our sailors from going there, and by identifying these businesses as places that sell what we consider to be an unsafe item," added Hutchinson.
Products such as Spice are legal in Virginia, and some of the business owners told WAVY News 10 that servicemembers make up a big chunk of their clientele.
In September, the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board warned local businesses that if they didn't stop selling Spice to servicemembers, they could be put on the "off limits" list.
Thursday, the AFDCB followed through on that threat.
"The effect it has on the businesses really is ancillary," said Hutchinson. "What we are trying to do is protect our sailors."
The AFDCB is an investigative committee composed of members from each military service and civilian advisers, who work with local law enforcement agencies and local businesses to prevent unfair, dangerous, or criminal practices against military members.
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