Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Michael P. Bigelow, a military police officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, inspects a bag of “spice” during a hands-on class for prohibited substances relating to “spice” at the air station’s Provost Marshal’s Office, May 18. During the class, military and civilian police officers burned, felt, and smelled “spice” to better prepare them to recognize the illegal substance during a search.

Photo by Cpl. Alicia R. Giron

Cherry Point cracks down on spice

21 May 2010 | Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom

Marine Corps Installations East clarified rules at the start of 2010 regarding illegal use of legally obtainable substances that can induce a psychologically altered state of mind.

According to Marine Corps Forces Command Order 5355.1, effective Jan. 27 2010, the overall intent is to preserve good order and discipline and ensure the health and mission readiness for all service members.

One specific substance that has been targeted as a problem at Cherry Point is the substance called “spice.” Cherry Point military police have been ordered to patrol local stores that are known to sell “spice” and other substances that are illegal for Marines, Sailors and civilian employees to use.

Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5300.28D states the wrongful use, possession, or manufacturing and distributing of any substance, legal or illegal, is prohibited to all persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

“Any substance used to get high is wrong and illegal,” said Sgt. Maj. Jerry L. Bailey, the air station’s sergeant major. “We use weapons and can’t be using things to alter our state of mind. That should be reason enough to stay clean.”

The new order provides commanders an updated list of prohibited legal substances in the Marine Corps.

The order states the use of the following legal substances: “spice,” Salvia divinorum and salvinorin A, Mitragyna speciosa korth, Nymphaea caerulea, Convlvulaceae argyreia nervosa, lysergic acid amide, Amanitas mushrooms, datura, and 5-methoxy-dimethyltryptamine, are illegal to all Marines and Sailors.

“Spice” is a brand name for a mixture of herbs sold as incense and when smoked produces a cannabis-like effect.

Cannabis has both psychological and physiological effects on the human body. Acute affects while under the influence can include temporary short-term memory loss and circulation affects that increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

“We have had a few different cases involving ‘spice’,” said Bailey. “These Marines have been caught by the Provost Marshal’s Office, either through traffic stops or in their barracks rooms. The Marines were punished like they would be with any other drug-related incident.”

The new order also makes it clear that the use of a substance, which alters your behavior, is punishable under the UCMJ. Marines and Sailors convicted of such an offense may be administratively separated from the service.

“It’s out there, we know that,” said Bailey. “At parties people are pulling out these abnormal substances and smoking it. It comes in all different forms, but it’s all a waste of time. Stay away from it. Eventually, we will catch you.”

For more information on the new drug policy and nicknames for the substances listed, see Marine Corps Forces Command Order 5355.1.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point