Video Report By Shannon Handy, Reporter - bio | email
VISTA (CBS 8) - The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has temporarily suspended the liquor license of a North County store after authorities found it was selling synthetic marijuana, also known as "spice."
For the next 20 days, Tommy's Liquor in Vista is prohibited from selling any alcohol after sheriff's officials spotted spice there back in October.
"We basically were doing a routine inspection and we found it," an official said.
Spice has been banned in California since January 2012. The owner of Tommy's Liquor says he knew the product was illegal, which is why he put it behind the counter. He claims to have had no intention of selling it to the public.
"The police said it was supposed to be in the back room," store owner Fivan Hurmiz said.
We asked him if he thought the suspension was fair.
"Well, this is the law. It's ABC law, I can't say anything," he said.
Spice isn't the only former store-sold product law enforcement is trying to crack down on. Bath salts, which are snorted and mirror the effects of methamphetamine, are also on their radar.
Both drugs have caught the attention of the North Coastal Prevention Coalition, an organization that not only helps catch businesses that are selling illegal products, but also educates people about the potential risks involved.
"It has a tremendous impact on your physiology," Aaron Byzak of the North Coastal Prevention Coalition said. "Tommy's did receive a letter and they had been warned a number of times over the years that this stuff is dangerous, so it's nice to see that they're being held accountable for their actions.
Being held accountable won't stop after just 20 days. ABC officials say this suspension is just the beginning of a long and justified punishment.
"Right now they are on a three-year probation, which means if in fact they have the same problem within three years, ABC can revoke their license," Jennifer Ward of ABC said.