3 stores shut down for selling ‘spice,’ causing public health emergency

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A packaged substance, sold as potpourri, is known on the street as spice, aka synthetic marijuana.
A packaged substance, sold as potpourri, is known on the street as spice, aka synthetic marijuana.

Three stores have had their business licenses revoked for selling synthetic marijuana, which police say caused 34 overdoses over the past 48 hours.

The three stores, Han’s Food Mart, 353 Maple Street; Union Street Market, 621 Union Street; and TN Convenience, 90 Bridge Street, were found to have sold a product called “Smacked,” labeled as potpourri. The City Clerk’s office revoked their business licenses, citing “business activities which endanger the public health, welfare, and safety of local residents.”

They will remain closed for business until they can schedule a hearing, which could be as early as Friday or as late as next week, said Manchester Police Sgt. Brian O’Keefe.

Mayor Ted Gatsas on Wednesday convened a group of city leaders to including Police Chief David Mara, City Solicitor Thomas Clark; City Clerk, Matthew Normand and City of Manchester Public Health Director Timothy M. Soucy to address the ongoing issue with overdoses in the city of Manchester due to this substance.

None of the overdoses resulted in death, police said.

Police investigation confirmed that these three stores were selling the product that resulted in the medical emergencies, in particular, the bubble-gum flavored spice.

On Wednesday, Hillsborough County Attorney Patricia LaFrance said this substance is a difficult one to ban.

“I’m not an expert on this substance, but I know that every time we change the statute they change formulas – in layman’s terms, they move a molecule and that changes the DNA of the chemical, so that it’s no longer on our banned list,” LaFrance said.

“I’m happy to see Chief Mara take the initiative, and we’re here to support him in any way we can,” LaFrance said.

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About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!