Military police said they received complaints that the store on Wrightsboro Road was selling synthetic marijuana, called spice. The base sent investigators from Fort Gordon to the store who purchased the drug, according to military police at Wednesday’s meeting of the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board.
Spice, also called K2, was officially outlawed in Georgia when Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill making its sale and distribution a felony beginning April 1. The drug is typically marketed as incense and not for human consumption, but smoking it causes hallucinations and sometimes trips to the emergency rooms.
The America Association of Poison Control Centers reported 6,959 calls nationwide related to the drug’s adverse effects in 2011, double the number of calls in 2010.
Wednesday’s meeting was one of four held every year by select civilians and military leaders on post to discuss issues that affect soldiers’ health, safety and well being. Their recommendations are sent from garrison command to Fort Gordon’s commanding general, Maj. Gen. Alan Lynn, for approval. Lynn placed the store on temporary off-limits status before the meeting.
The shop was notified of the meeting and proprietors were given a chance to appear and state their case, but no representatives came. Lt. Col. Hollis Bush said the storeowners sent an e-mail March 28 stating they were refusing sales to all service members in uniform. The e-mail added that there were five other establishments in Augusta selling spice, a point that concerned Deputy to the Garrison Commander John Curry.
“You create a real dilemma here,” said Curry, who worried that banning one store would open up discrimination complaints.
A woman who answered the phone at Trip 3 Wednesday morning said she couldn’t comment and a message left was not returned.
Soldiers who violate the order, if issued, are subject to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice to include forfeiture of pay and confinement.