Sailors, Marines barred from Bluffton business

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comMarch 28, 2012 

A Bluffton business has been added to a list of local shops that are off-limits to all Beaufort-area Marines and sailors, according to military officials.

Island Republic was added to the list this month after the store, in a plaza off U.S. 278, was found to stock and sell a substance banned by the military, according to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort spokeswoman Lt. Sharon Hyland.

Hyland declined to name the substance, which she said was banned by the military for its ability to "induce intoxication, excitement or stupefaction."

"The commanders' top priority is to preserve the health, safety and operational readiness of their young service members, and the sale of banned substances to our military threatens to undermine the overall combat effectiveness of these men and women," Hyland said.

A man who identified himself as the owner of Island Republic declined comment Wednesday.

Hyland said the owner was notified that the business is now off-limits, and it can appeal to a disciplinary-control board of commanders from the Beaufort-area bases.

Island Republic joins Sexy by Nature in Okatie, Al's Military Barber Shop in the Shell Point area and the former Gold Club in Hardeeville on the list of businesses Marines and sailors are barred from patronizing.

The list was last amended in April when Sexy by Nature and a Port Royal gas station did not comply with a request from local military commanders to remove synthetic marijuana that, at the time, was legal in South Carolina but prohibited to military personnel. The gas station has since been removed from the list.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environment Control voted in October to outlaw the substance, which is a mixture of herbs and spices sprayed with a chemical compound similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Marines and sailors caught using the substances or patronizing the off-limits businesses face discipline under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and could even be forced to leave the Corps, Hyland said.

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