OGDEN -- The city council approved an ordinance Tuesday night making Ogden the first municipality in the state to ban the sale and possession of spice, an incense that produces a marijuana-like high.
Although the ban goes into effect immediately, it may take until the end of the week for law officers to notify store owners that they can no longer sell spice, said Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner.
"We are looking to get them (store owners) to send it back to where they bought it from," he said in a phone interview.
Spice was still available for sale Tuesday night at the Corner Market, a bustling convenience store at Ninth Street and Polk Avenue that has been at the center of numerous complaints because it is adjacent to Horace Mann Elementary School.
A man who identified himself only as David and manager of the market said he is awaiting official word from police before removing spice from his shelves, adding he will comply with the new law.
"I really don't care," he said during a brief interview at his store.
Councilman Brandon Stephenson said he's convinced that spice is detrimental, especially to children and the city as a whole. He described the ordinance as important in establishing a good community standard.
Councilman Doug Stephens also praised residents for offering suggestions that put the ordinance on the fast track to approval after only a few weeks of discussion.
"I applaud you as citizens," he said. "It's a citizen ordinance."
The ordinance bans the manufacture, distribution, use, possession and purchase of spice within the city.
Violation of the ordinance is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The ordinance also gives the city authority to seek an injunction to compel businesses to comply.
Individuals who sell, purchase or use spice under a prescription from a licensed physician or dentist or at the direction of law enforcement officers are exempt from the ordinance.
The ordinance also prohibits individuals from buying spice in municipalities where the substance is legal and then bringing it into Ogden, said Assistant City Attorney Kirk Nord.
The city council adopted the ordinance at the urging Tuesday night of numerous law officers and residents.
Randy Lythgoe, an agent with the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, said he has encountered several teenagers who have told him they use their school lunch money to buy spice that sells from $5 to $7 a gram.
Matt Fairbanks, an agent with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, said spice is harmful because it can serve as a gateway to the use of illegal drugs.
Dan Deuel, of Ogden, told the council the ordinance is needed to protect residents.
However, not everyone who attended the city council meeting approved of the ordinance.
Brandon Ball, a 25-year-old Weber State University student, said there is no proof that spice has long-term health effects and he believes the ordinance infringes on personal rights.
"It takes away your freedom," he said. "I don't see it as a public-safety issue."
Jacob Culliton, a 23-year-old criminal justice student, said he is concerned that individuals who legally buy spice in another city may not be aware that they can't bring it into Ogden.
"Spice is far less harmful than cigarettes," said Culliton, adding he is not in total support of spice use.