Apr 8, 2015 6:44 PM

NH1 News Investigates: Spice makers find loopholes to skirt the laws


The use of spice is now on the rise more than ever before.

Even though federal and state lawmakers have banned it, makers of the drug are finding ways to skirt around those laws.

It's herbal incense but on the street or in corner stores, it can be found as Fire and Ice, Bliss, or Dark Knight.

"There is an innate desire for intoxication," says correspondent Hamilton Morris from the documentary television series, "Vice," that airs on HBO.

That desire for intoxication, he said, is by synthetic cannabinoids or spice.

They're chemically engineered substances like the active ingredient in pot.

"It certainly is the most quickly growing new drug class," said Morris.

But how?

Morris recently traveled to China to see how chemists are creating it there in bulk.

"For the Chinese manufacturer, they're not thinking of this as some kind of clandestine, evil practice," Morris said. "They're just doing their job and just making chemicals and not thinking twice about what they are, what they do, and how they're being used."

And when they change the molecular structure, current laws simply don't apply to these newly created forms of spice.

Once it gets back to the U.S., a rare few have an adverse type of reaction but most, he said, just have a good high.

"They're drugs that people like," Morris said. "People choose to use them because they're euphoric."

Morris said if lawmakers made cannabis legal, people wouldn't be using spice, and there wouldn't even be a market for them.

"Vice" airs on HBO on Fridays at 11 p.m.


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