The term “spice” refers to a wide variety of substances trafficked throughout the galaxy. Some types of spice are primarily medicinal, refined into lifesaving painkillers or used to treat mental illness; more often than not, however, spice traders deal in addictive, recreational chemical compounds with unpredictable and dangerous physical and psychological effects.
Spice is tightly regulated‒or completely banned‒on most Republic and Imperial worlds. On the Hutt-controlled moon of Nar Shaddaa, however, spice is openly imported, processed, refined and packaged for both local and offworld distribution. Nar Shaddaa's spice trade is split among numerous gangs and petty crime lords who use the profits to fund other, often violent, activities.
In recent years, the Exchange crime syndicate has offered several key players cut-rate distribution of product on Republic worlds through their existing criminal networks. The newly forged alliances have finally given the Exchange a foothold in the spice trade, much to the chagrin of the Hutts.