Wasilla to vote again on anti-Spice law

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA _ The Wasilla City Council is expected to take action again Monday on an ordinance that would ban the use, possession and sale of synthetic drugs like Spice or bath salts inside city limits.

Anchorage passed an anti-Spice ban in January but Wasilla's council didn't have the votes in February to do the same.

Even though three council members voted for it and two against, city code requires four votes to pass legislation and one council member was absent.

As proposed, Wasilla's ordinance would authorize a $500 fine for anyone caught using or selling the illicit synthetic compounds based on the labels rather than the chemical contents of the packages. Numerous frustrated Wasilla residents came before the council last month to demand a ban. Spice is a problem in the city, especially among young people, they said.

Authorities in Anchorage say the stuff disappeared from the shelves there after the Assembly banned it but still shows up on the streets because users and sellers buy it in Wasilla.

One of the two critics of the Wasilla ordinance, council member Brandon Wall, has proposed nine separate amendments to clarify the proposal and make it more similar to a state-level synthetic drug law.

Sponsored by Anchorage Republican state Sen. Kevin Meyer, Senate Bill 173 would make misleading packaging illegal and establish fines of up to $500 per package. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday, headed for the Senate Rule Committee.

The amendments Wall proposed would also hone language about "euphoria" that Wall says could unintentionally regulate energy drinks, make possession or sale a public nuisance, and add provisions for businesses to lose their license if they don't stop selling the drugs. The council discussed the amendments at a special meeting Monday night but made no decisions.

The council will meet starting at 6 p.m. Monday at Wasilla City Council Chambers in City Hall, located at 290 East Herning Avenue. A public hearing will precede council deliberations.

Reach Zaz Hollander at zhollander@adn.com or 257-4317.