WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Another midshipman was expelled from the U.S. Naval Academy for using or having a banned marijuana-like substance known as "spice," bringing the total number expelled to 12, officials said.
In January and February, 11 students were expelled as a part of an ongoing investigation into the violation of the Naval Academy's zero tolerance policy regarding illicit drug use or possession.
"Spice," also commonly branded K2 and known as a synthetic marijuana product, is typically marketed as incense and sold online and at convenience stores for $30 to $40 for a three-gram bag, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
"Our purpose is to produce leaders, and as such, we will not graduate or commission any illicit drug user. This type of character flaw is simply incompatible with leading the Sailors of the 21st century," Vice Admiral Michael H. Miller, Superintendent of the Naval Academy, said in a statement.
Use of "spice" and other similarly branded herb mixes has been on the rise among teens and young adults in the last few years.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the smokable herbal blends "consist of plant material that has been coated with research chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana."
(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Greg McCune)