Delegate Cathy Vitale (R-Severna Park) is introducing a bill Tuesday that would give law enforcement a better grip on the spread of synthetic cannabinoids, commonly called "spice."
Vitale's House Bill 482 cracks down on how the substance is categorized by police, labeling it a Schedule I drug—the same category as marijuana, mescaline, and LSD.
The Severna Park delegate has called spice an epidemic, saying action needed to be taken now to prevent its spread. Her criticism is joined by 15 other delegates who are listed as co-sponsors on the bill.
"Under Vitale's legislation, manufacturers will be required to label imitation marijuana products so law enforcement can seize those products which produce the euphoric butdangerous mind-altering effects of marijuana," according to a release.
Vitale has met with members of the Anne Arundel County Police Department to find out what could be done to limit the spread of the substance that has become a popular alternative to marijuana.
Usage of spice has increased by nearly 300 percent in the number of reported cases between 2010-2011, according to a release from Vitale.
Vitale said something needed to be done through legislation, because spice was slipping through the fingers of law enforcement.
"Current law fails to include language sufficient enough to get ahead of the onslaught of synthetic compounds created each day," she said. "Forty-eight percent of cases reported in 2012 involved students between the ages of 13 and 19."
It isn't the first time spice has taken center stage in Anne Arundel County. In December 2012, The Capital Gazette published the results of their investigation into the proliferation of spice among midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy.