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Lubbock City Council Finalizes Ban on Synthetic Marijuana

Cole Shooter, KFYO.com

At their meeting Thursday evening, the Lubbock City Council gave final approval to an ordinance which bans substances classified as synthetic marijuana.

The Council approved the ordinance 6-0, which prohibits “the sale, public display for sale, attempted sale, gift, barter, delivery, possession, or use of illicit synthetic drugs and misbranded drugs.”

The ordinance will ban substances listed as a controlled substance in the Texas Health and Safety Code, as well as Salvia.

District 1 Lubbock City Councilman Victor Hernandez offered a friendly amendment to the ordinance removing subsection G of the ordinance.

Under subsection G, it would have become unlawful to use any substances similar to the ones laid out in the ordinance that “may produce intoxication, stupefaction, giddiness, paralysis, irrational behavior, or which, in any manner, changes, distorts, or disturbs the auditory, visual, or mental process of the user, when the substance has no other legitimate, non-narcotic purpose.”

No Council members objected to the removal of that particular section.

Using, selling, or possessing these drugs would be a class C misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $2,000 following conviction in municipal court.

The ordinance will go into effect 30 days from February 14th, 2013.

Gina Johnson, the citizen that brought the issue to the City Council, spoke during citizen comments and said that more work is needed on the issue.

“The work is far from over, and I would like the City to support the idea of having a health educator/coordinator, someone to coordinate and educate the public on these poisons,” said Johnson. “They are long-lasting. The effects and damages do not stop with the first use.”

District 3 Councilman Todd Klein said “I don’t know how things will play out, but I’ll be bringing forward, at either the next Council meeting or the meeting after, a strategic planning initiative for the Board of Health…we need to look at that issue, and we need to look at a lot of the public health issues we’ve got in our community.”

Mayor Glen Robertson has said in the past that he does not believe that it is up to him as an elected official to tell adults what they may or may not do to their bodies, and so he has not offered support for the outright ban on the substances, but did complement Johnson on her efforts.

“Your action of continually being here, speaking to this council, speaking to the media, and not letting this issue rest has done more to educate the citizens of this community than anything we can do as a Council, so I want to applaud you for your efforts and thank you for what you’ve done in helping educate the public on this matter,” said Robertson.

Robertson was present for a portion of the meeting, but left prior to the vote on this item due to recent heart surgery.

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