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Air Force not taking 'Spice' use with a grain of salt

Military servicemen and women in the Colorado Springs area should be aware that 30 airmen at Tinker Air Force Base have been discharged by Air Force officials for their use or possession of a synthetic version of marijuana that is known as "Spice."

The drug was officially made illegal by the DEA in March and is made up of an herb mixture that is sprayed with chemicals that have a similar effect as THC, the high-producing component in marijuana.

"If you use Spice and are caught - which you will be - the Air Force has a zero-tolerance policy, so you will be jeopardizing your military career," a colonel at Tinker Air Force Base warned the airmen.

Evidently, the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations kicked off an investigation shortly after the drug was banned and authorities were tipped off that there was a problem with Spice use on the base. The investigation led to 30 airmen ranging from airman to senior airman being discharged from the military.

All of the airmen were either found in possession of the drug or had used the drug, sources say. About half of the users who were discharged were found to have used the drug habitually and offered it to others.

Since being dubbed illegal, the Air Force has said that it will treat being caught using or possessing the drug the same as being caught using or possessing marijuana.

"Everyone needs to understand that Spice is a Schedule One controlled substance. In other words, it's considered the same as using marijuana," the Tinker Air Force Base colonel said.

One of the biggest concerns with the drug is that recipes to make it greatly vary, which means that one cannot predict the high or side effects that will result, military officials said.

Ultimately, military officials said that anyone in the service who tests positive with the drug or is found in possession of the drug may be court-martialed, demoted, dishonorably discharged, confined for at least five years and docked pay.

If you are in the military service and are accused of Spice use, contact a lawyer in your area for assistance in defending your rights and rank.

Source: NewsOk.com, "Air Force to discharge 30 Tinker airmen for possession of synthetic marijuana," Bryan Dean, 6/14/2011.

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