FARMINGTON -- No opponents to a proposed Davis County ban on the herbal concoction called spice appeared at a public hearing Friday.
The Davis County Board of Health held the hearing to get public opinion on what to do with spice, the unregulated product sold as incense but used by some as a recreational drug.
"The sooner it gets banned, the better," Farmington resident Paul Hayward told board members.
Hayward, who said he was a former Farmington fire marshal, was one of two people at the hearing to speak in support of a proposal to regulate spice.
Health board members have begun the process of legally controlling spice by suggesting its production, distribution and possession be made a class B misdemeanor in Davis County.
Spice, also known as K2, Black Mamba and various other names, is a combination of herbs and a synthetic variation of a component in marijuana that gives some people a marijuana-like high when smoked.
State health officials and others admit there is scant research to prove the dangers of spice use.
But law enforcement officers and some county health officials in Utah believe there is mounting evidence to support a ban, and at least 13 states have already banned spice and its many variants.
A Davis County physician testified he has seen court-ordered clients and others heavily affected by substances containing synthetic cannabinoids.
"By all definitions, it is a dangerous substance," said Dr. Todd Thatcher, who works for the Valley Mental Health Forensics Unit.
The proposed regulation comes as numerous government entities in Utah, including several Davis and Weber county cities, are either considering or have passed a similar ban.
The health board regulation is modeled after a recent Ogden law, but the county regulation would be repealed if state lawmakers take action.
A statewide legislative advisory committee has agreed to recommend that Utah lawmakers take control of the incense and perhaps make possession of it a class B misdemeanor similar to marijuana possession.
Three statewide bills also regulating spice are in the works for the 2011 session of the Utah Legislature.
The Davis County Board of Health is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the local ban.
Davis County Health Department Director Lewis Garrett calls the board proposal a stop-gap measure until state lawmakers decide what to do with the issue.