City Council passes ordinance banning synthetic marijuana


The Lubbock City Council unanimously passed an ordinance banning the sale, use and possession of synthetic marijuana at its meeting Thursday.
Synthetic marijuana also is referred to as incense, K-2, legal, spice, spongebud and scooby snax.
There will be a second reading and vote on the same ordinance at the Council meeting Feb. 14, Mayor Pro Tem Karen Gibson said.
After the second reading, the ordinance will go into effect in 30 days if approved, she said.
“It’s a good first step,” Gibson said.
Gibson, Councilman for District 1 Victor Hernandez and Councilman for District 3 Todd Klein worked with the city’s legal department to come up with the ordinance, said Gina Johnson, a non-traditional freshman secondary education major at Lubbock Christian University.
Johnson said there were probably a dozen people at the meeting in support of the ordinance.
“It’s a poison,” Johnson said. “It has got to be removed from our community. It kills people without warning. It isn’t like most of the other illegal drugs because of the fact that one use could do you in.”
At the meeting, Johnson read a poem by an unknown author titled “My Name is ‘Meth.’”
Johnson said she chose to read the poem to let the public know synthetic marijuana is just like every drug, and that it acts like crystal meth.
Michael Phillips, a Lubbock resident, said he has not used synthetic marijuana himself, but he has used mind-altering products including marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. He also has a relative who uses synthetic marijuana daily.
“To me he’s acting the same way I would with methamphetamine,” Phillips said. “It’s changing the chemistry.”
His relative’s actions, he said, can be compared to the way the “That 70s Show” characters acted when they would meet in a circle.
Phillips said he was concerned with the lack of ingredient labels on the product, the side effects of using the product and its availability to children.
“They could do a city ban, start there,” he said. “That’s the only thing the Council really can do right now is do it, and then we start education.”
Councilman for District 2 Floyd Price said the ban on synthetic marijuana is just the beginning of what should be done, and he credits Johnson with getting him back on track in reference to drug protection.
Councilwoman for District 6 Latrelle Joy said she spoke on the phone 30 minutes before the meeting with someone whose brother-in-law used synthetic marijuana and is dead.
“The images that he saw when he used this substance,” she said, “those images were so horrible that he’d do anything to get them to go away so he shot himself.”
Floyd, Gibson, Klein and Joy each spoke before the vote was taken, and all were in agreement about educating the public because the ordinance alone was not going to solve the problem.
After the ordinance is passed, Gibson said she is looking for labeling on the packages, anything against resale and education about the substances.
She said communities surrounding Lubbock were watching for the Council’s decision because they knew once the ordinance was passed in Lubbock, other communities may begin to follow suit.
Johnson said she would be in attendance at the second reading.
“This is a minor battle,” she said. “The war is far from won, but it’s a step that had to be taken.”
It is important, she said, for people to call 911 immediately if they experience any symptoms after using synthetic marijuana.

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