In early May, Dearborn resident Steve Arnold announced that he was , otherwise known as Spice.
Two successful protests later, Arnold says he is taking his efforts statewide.
Spice is a form of synthetic marijuana that is commonly sold as incense, or potpourri. It was originally sold under the name K2, but legislation banned K2 in Michigan in October of 2010. Since the ban, manufacturers are finding ways around the legislation by manufacturing variations of the banned substance, eliminating the chemicals that caused the original K2 to be banned.
Known to be widely used by young adults across the country, Spice is cited as the drug of choice for 19-year-old Tucker Cipriano, who , Dearborn Public Schools employee Robert Cipriano.
Arnold had his own brush with the drug when he had to hospitalize his 16-year-old daughter after she smoked a form of Spice known as "Scoobi Snax"–sold to her at a BP gas station at Telegraph Road and Cherry Hill in Dearborn.
Since then, he has organized two protests: the first was on May 19 at the Future Fuels on Michigan Avenue; the second, held May 28, was at the BP that sold Spice to Arnold's daughter.
Both gas station owners, he said, agreed to stop selling the product, and to publicly apologize for selling it at the Tuesday, May 29, City Council meeting.
"Our folks were disciplined and maintained composure, but basically no customers went in there for two hours," Arnold said of both protests. "We had our battle, it's over, and I bought gas from them."
Future Fuels owner and prominent Dearborn businessman Hakim Fakhoury signed a letter pledging to stop selling Spice, while the BP owner gave a verbal agreement to do the same.
"Twelve people brought them to their knees," said Arnold.
Arnold said he hopes these two events will send a message to other Dearborn gas station owners.
However, the movement isn't stopping there. Next up are plans to stage a statewide boycott of all BP gas stations–based on Arnold's observation that nearly every business in the chain he has come into contact with sells Spice.
To learn more about efforts to drive Spice out of Dearborn, visit the “Not in Our Neighborhood” Facebook page.