Lubbock City Council Approves Health Board Study on Synthetic Marijuana, Bath Salts
At their meeting Thursday evening, the Lubbock City Council approved a resolution which will have further study into some designer drugs sold in the Hub City.
The Council approved the resolution which has directed the City’s Board of Health to study methods of educating the public on the “availability, sale, recreational use, hazards, and possible criminalization of synthetic psychoactive designer drugs, including synthetic marijuana and bath salts.”
Once their study is completed, the Board of Health will report their findings to the council.
Originally, the resolution offered by District 1 Councilman Victor Hernandez only had the Board of Health conduct a study on the substances, but the Council approved an amendment offered by District 4 Councilman Jim Gerlt, changing it to involve educating the public as well.
Only one person showed up to discuss the issue at citizen comments, and he spoke in support of legalizing drugs. It was a much different scene from last week's meeting, where quite a few people turned out to voice their support for a ban on the synthetic substances.
Eighteen year-old Julian Hernandez said “I move to decriminalize all organic drugs within the City. Doing so would stimulate the economy, as you, the governing body, could control and regulate the drugs as necessary.” He also advocated for leaving the synthetic marijuana issue alone.
“I do not ever see myself voting yes to legalize any type of drug that causes as many problems as synthetic marijuana,” said District 2 Councilman Floyd Price.
Councilman Hernandez said “first of all, we’re not related, correct?” Julian Hernandez agreed.
Mayor Glen Robertson addressed Julian Hernandez, specifically commenting on his white, flat-billed DC Clothing hat which Hernandez wore while addressing the Council.
“Mr. Hernandez, I’m going to make a statement, and it’s a statement I would make to you if you were one of my three sons. I’m not asking for a response or a comment, but if you’d like to be taken seriously next time you approach this Council, I would suggest showing respect to this Council and leaving your cap off in your truck or your car," said Robertson.
"I find it very disrespectful, but I do thank you for being here and sharing your views with us,” he continued.
Julian Hernandez responded saying “I do not believe that it is disrespectful for me to wear a hat to the City Council. It is not disrespectful for me to wear a hat in an assembly of God.”
Robertson quipped “It is very plain that I did not raise you then.”
When the Council took up the resolution, Julian Hernandez attempted to approach the podium again to apparently address them outside of citizen comments. Julian Hernandez was called back by Lubbock Police Chief Roger Ellis, who had a brief conversation with him outside of the room. Both men returned to the Council chambers following their discussion.
As for a timetable on enacting a potential ban, District 5 Councilwoman Karen Gibson said “I want it done as quickly as we can, but I want it done correctly. I don’t want to just throw something out there that these guys can just get around.”
The Council unanimously approved sending the issue to be studied by the Board of Health. The City’s legal department is also looking into the issue, and is working with the police department on an agenda item for a ban.
City Attorney Sam Medina said that he expects to be able to deliver more legal information to the City Council regarding a potential complete ban or increased civil and criminal penalties for the sale of these substances to minors at their meeting on December 17th.
An agenda item that would have spent $80,740 to a Dallas firm to create a master plan for the City of Lubbock library system was withdrawn by Councilman Hernandez.
A majority of Council members voiced support for creating a master plan in-house, as opposed to having an outside organization do the work.