Alaska woman fights spice drug trend by offering pot instead

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage woman is looking for spice users and asking them to destroy their synthetic drug in exchange for marijuana.

Nicole Crites said she made her first spice-destruction transaction on Friday. Earlier this year, Alaska became the third U.S. state, after Colorado and Washington, to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults.

“Just driving down Karluk Street, anytime of day, you’ll find people passed out from it,” Crites said. “I don’t see it addressed by anybody. I don’t.”

Her husband Michael Crites’ Absolutely Chronic Delivery Company is sponsoring the effort.

This effort comes as health officials are considering approaches to what the Anchorage Police Department called the city’s spice epidemic, KTUU-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1LTr6Sk ). Across the nation, reports of synthetic marijuana products such as spice identified by local, state and federal drug labs have skyrocketed since 2009. That year, labs reported 23 cases. Last year there were roughly 37,500.

“I just need to go forward,” Nicole Crites said. “If you feel like you’re doing something right, you do it.”

The Anchorage Municipal Attorney’s Office says Crites’ actions are potentially within the law. But the Anchorage Police Department released a statement Friday that says it doesn’t believe giving people pot for destroying spice is the solution.

“The Anchorage Police Department’s primary concern is the health and safety of our citizens and we do not believe trading marijuana for spice is the solution to the spice epidemic in our community,” the statement says. “We also want residents to consider the potential legality issues with trading marijuana for something of value and being in possession of spice.”

Crites cannot possess spice and can only give marijuana to people who are legally allowed to possess it.

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Information from: KTUU-TV, http://www.ktuu.com

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