Businesses Fail To Comply With Synthetic Marijuana Ban

Photo by Jose Rodriguez

District 3 Councilman Todd Klein can identify some loopholes local businesses could be working around to continue the distribution and selling of synthetic marijuana products.

Synthetic marijuana, after all, was criminalized with the passing of an ordinance by the City Council that went into effect March 9.

The drug’s structure allows for customization, a reason it is placed within the psychoactive designer drugs family, allowing for several versions of the core substance.

“The reformulation aspect is going to be elusive, and it has been,” Klein said.

Synthetic marijuana can be obtained in various forms and under many names, some of which include K-2, Diablo, Blaze and Spice.

The ordinance, which was passed unanimously Feb. 14, prohibits the possession, distribution, sale and use of the substance.

Klein said the ordinance lists banned chemicals, which is something manufacturers have targeted to work around the ban.

Klein, however, believes the ordinance carries a bigger long-term impact by simply being in place.

“We can promote people-seeking, therapy treatment — I think that’s part of the public education,” he said. “The most effective portion of public health education is alerting people in advance, ‘Don’t try this.’”

Klein said the selling of the substance misleads buyers into thinking it is safe, because it otherwise would not be sold. Some of the dangers the drug presents, however, have been known to be life-threatening.

Nothin’ Butt Smokes has been one of the businesses that has failed to comply with the ordinance, Sgt. Jonathan Stewart of the Lubbock Police Department told The Daily Toreador on March. 18.

Shon Ross, the owner of Nothin’ Butt Smokes and one of the more outspoken individuals opposing the ordinance’s existence, said law enforcement officers do not fully understand the ordinance’s outline.

“We still stand firm that all of our products are compliant with the city ordinance,” Ross said to My Lubbock TV on March 19. “We’re working through the legal process to prove that fact.”

Attempts to reach Ross and Stewart were unsuccessful.

Up to six shops have been reported to be selling the substance, where citations were dealt and LPD officers seized the contraband.

A violation of the ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor and a business fine of up to $2,000. Individuals are subject to $500 fines.

But until specific changes are made to the ordinance, Klein said figuring out a way to prevent the distribution of synthetic marijuana will be taxing.

“The ultimate challenge is ‘can we close that loophole?’” he said. “And beyond that, what else can we remedy?”

About Jose Rodriguez
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