CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – A Chesterfield store owner was busted for selling the now illegal, product, spice. After we broke that story on Monday, we wanted to know more about the crackdown on synthetic marijuana in our area.
The one thing that stuck with us, was that the owner said his distributor told him spice was legal. First, we found out that 23 people have now been arrested in Chesterfield, since spice was banned in March. Investigators tell us blaming a distributor doesn't mean a store owner is off the hook.
Synthetic marijuana, K2 or spice as it's known, has led to nearly two dozen charges in Chesterfield County. Just last week police busted Tanveer Mian for having five bags of the substance in his store even though he claims his distributor sold it to him.
"When the manufacturers company, they sold us, they gave us a letter certification--oh it's legal," said Mian.
So who's really at fault? The convenience store owner, or the company they're buying the substance from? In most cases police tell us it's not the distributor.
"Many other states in the country it's actually legal," said Captain, Hal Moser, with the Chesterfield County Police Department. "Not only can they sell it, they can manufacture it and sell it to others."
And in most cases you can order it online for your store. According to the website, www.K2legalsmoke.com, K2 is legal in North Carolina, West Virginia, D.C., Maryland and Tennessee all states surrounding Virginia.
"If our investigation leads to a distributor who is selling it illegally in the state of Virginia we would go after them also," said Moser.
Mian claimed he didn't know the K2 shipment he ordered was illegal but Captain Moser isn't letting ignorance serve as an excuse either. People we spoke with had mixed opinions on who's to blame.
"I think it's the responsibility of police to or just in general to notify in stores whether things are illegal or not," said one resident.
"If they're selling it at convenience stores then it's the businesses fault," added another.
Police believe Mian was trying to sell leftover bags of K2 from before it was made illegal here in Virginia. Getting caught selling the substance or possessing it, is a class six felony in Virginia.