Alleviating Anchorage’s Spice problem — one gram of marijuana at a time.
Spice, or synthetic marijuana, has been a problem in the Anchorage Bowl for many years. In recent months, the use of Spice has skyrocketed and has been attributed for over 30 hospitalizations. In an effort to relieve this Spice epidemic, one local entrepreneur is giving those affected an alternative.
Nicole Crites is on a mission to better the community, one gram of marijuana at a time. She began her outreach to terminate the synthetic drug on Oct. 24 of this year. So far, she has helped destroy roughly a quarter pound of Spice.
Crites’ business model allows those who are using Spice and want help to call her, and she’ll come to those in need armed with toilet bowl cleaner and trash bags. She consoles them, and then has them destroy the synthetic marijuana by immersing it in toilet bowl cleaner and throwing it away. In return for their destroyed Spice, Crites gives them an alternative — marijuana — and doubles it, capping at an ounce — the legal limit for distribution.
“Somehow what I’m doing is legal, but what my husband is doing is illegal. I’m walking a fine line, but yes, I never touch the Spice. They destroy it themselves and dispose of it. All I do is give them a thank you,” said Crites. “I would hope that as a community we can come together and just not have it here. That’s my pipe dream. When we first started out, I said if we could do just one trade I’d be happy.”
Crites’s husband runs their business, Absolutely Chronic Delivery Company, or ACDC, to get medical marijuana to help those experiencing critical medical issues. Crites focuses on the Spice trades aspect of the business and finds that her background in the medical field and nursing school has allowed her extra understanding of those who need help.
“The idea that it’s a synthetic marijuana… Why not offer them in exchange straight across, and we figured if we could double it, a gram for two grams, and give them incentive to want to try and do that.”
I asked Crites where she gets the marijuana she distributes, to which she responded, “various suppliers.” Crites claims that she “couldn’t grow a cactus.”
Crites is focused on the community and is using this system to better Anchorage and its people.
“Your community is what you build of it and nobody wants this in their community and nobody wants their kids around it. If you have the option of putting yourself or your child in a room full of 10 people that are stoners that smoke weed, or 10 people that just smoked Spice. Which room would you pick? I just think there are really obvious dangers,” said Crites.
Crites gets many types of people calling for trade-offs and destruction. Focused on the homeless population, she points to the media for channeling in on this specific demographic.
“I think it is through media, I think it is definitely been exposed how much the homeless shelter and the homeless have been affected. Which would be your number one first people that you would see a problem, just because they have less resources. For our exchanges, though, we’ve had all walks of life, to be quite honest,” said Crites.
Looking toward the future, Crites hopes to educate the public on the effects of Spice in the community. She wants to host a multitude of events ranging from a lecture of an ex-Spice user turned EMT, to an amnesty where those who have it can have the opportunity to destroy their Spice supply with no penalty. Crites is having a difficult time working with APD and the community on both of these endeavors.
“I have contacted APD to see if we could do an amnesty, you know where people could just destroy without being fined, I’ve got no word back. I’ve been trying to find a place to do this because I had it already to go with the endurance to put it on and no one is willing to host,” said Crites. “I even talked with UAA and asked if they would be interested in having her [Jessica Burch, an EMT in Kenai] come talk to their EMTs or to have her come and talk to anybody. Got no response from UAA. Got no response from APD, and I’m not really understanding why. I’m trying to offer help here. I’m trying to offer resources.”
In the meantime, Crites is doing everything she can do to educate the community and get the word on Spice and marijuana out to the public. One such way she’s doing this is creating laminated note cards with information on them that she can leave around the city, in hopes someone who discovers them can find it useful.
“What I would like to do is give people’s rights regarding marijuana and then with all the information about the Spice and where they can get recovery and where they can go for treatment. I want to make these information sheets, get them laminated, and then that information is out there,” said Crites.
At this point, Crites has not received a second call from anyone she’s helped.
To learn more about Nicole Crites and her effort to alleviate the usage of Spice in the community, contact her at (907) 336-2232.