PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) - In 2011, the Florida Attorney General's Office banned numerous forms of synthetic marijuana, also known as spice, and numerous forms of it, which were sold in stores.
On Dec. 11, 2012, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced 22 more chemical forms of the substance that have been banned.
With the help of local law enforcement, state representatives are hoping to expand that ban.
The Escambia County Sheriff's Office is doing its part with the new laws by recently cracking down on seven local convenience stores suspected of selling synthetic marijuana, or spice.
On January 31, 2013, members of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office Special Investigations Unit conducted undercover operations and targeted 11 stores.
During the investigation, a total of seven stores were caught selling and distributing spice.
Investigators recovered 1,760 individual packages of suspected spice, which weighed over 17 pounds.
Authorities said the suspected street value of the drug was around $40,000. The suspected spice was sent off to a lab for testing and charges may be pending.
Deputies said the new ban has helped them increase their efforts to stop the selling of synthetic marijuana.
Sergeant Mike Ward with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office has been in law enforcement for 17 years. He said he's seen the effects of spice firsthand.
"It puts the person in an entirely different state of mind. They could be extremely violent, or not feel pain. It could cause them to pass out or not be able to breathe. So there's a wide variety of potential dangers," said Sgt. Ward.
Florida Representative Clay Ingram said the hope is to ban all possible forms of spice.
"We'd be able to go after them on a wider scale instead of ban individual chemical forms every time. But for now it allows us to at least go after the drug pushers," Ingram said.
Authorities said the sale or possession of spice is considered a third-degree felony.
"We are doing what we can with this problem. We want to let those stores that sell spice and every store that thinks about it, you better stop because we are coming. It's just a matter of time before it happens," said Sgt. Ward.
Deputies said the substances recovered on January 31 have been sent to a lab for testing and charges are pending.
The trial for Giuseppe Pino LoPorto continues today in Baldwin County. LoPorto, now 80-years-old, faces several sex abuse charges against a child dating back to the early 90s.
FOX10 News has learned William "Eddie" Patrick, captain of Mobile's First police precinct, has been demoted following an internal investigation.
Jennifer Fram pleaded guilty to reckless murder in Mobile Thursday, December 12. Fram is charged in a fatal traffic accident that killed Nicholas Markow in April 2012.
A family of nine said they’re left without a home for the holidays due to an overnight fire. Today, Stephanie Hinton, Shannon Hodges and their seven children are left picking up the pieces.
The Mobile Police Department has unveiled the design for their new police cruisers. The Chevy Caprices will replace the older, aging vehicles. Officials said the Caprice meets the department's need for maintenance, reliability and …
Skies are mostly clear and the breezy north wind is very noticeable this evening. Daytime highs were only in the mid 50’s today. We are expecting a light freeze tonight along and north of I-10. Lows will be near 32 degrees in Mobile. Upper 20’s are possible well inland.