Council hears personal stories about synthetic pot

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Updated: 12/01/2012 12:20 am

Thursday night's city council meeting took on a different tone than most. Inside a packed chamber, a handful of Lubbock residents shared personal, sometimes tearful stories about the dangers of synthetic marijuana.

Lubbock mother Gina Johnson told the council her son has used K2, a form of synthetic pot, and she wants to the city to ban the sale of the product in Lubbock. More than a handful of citizens joined Johnson in sharing personal stories about the damage they've seen caused by synthetic marijuana.

"Kids are dying, and people don't know that this stuff is out there," Johnson said. "They don't know that their children are using this, and they don't know what it does."

Lubbock Councilwoman Karen Gibson said, "I can assure you that along with Mr. Hernandez we will do something. I don't know what, but I will find out from legal, but something has got to be done. I have never heard of it."

Synthetic marijuana, often sold under the names K2 or Spice, usually includes mixes of herbs sprayed with various synthetic cannabinoids. It's often marketed as incense. Synthetic cannabinoids produce an effect similar to marijuana’s prime ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the side effects of synthetic marijuana can include violent seizures, dangerously elevated heart rates, renal failure, anxiety attacks and hallucinations. It has been linked to psychotic episodes which have ended in death.

Compounds found within synthetic marijuana are banned in at least 41 states, including Texas. Manufacture, sale or possession of K2 can be a Class A or B misdemeanor in Texas, allowing for a fine up to $4,000 and a year in jail.

Law enforcement efforts are often disrupted by science. When a state bans one group of compounds, manufacturers can alter the chemical makeup of the product and put it right back onto the market, most often in convenience stores and gas stations.

Mayor Glen Robertson said they will work with the legal team to see what action the city can take. He said potentially banning the sale of synthetic pot will be addressed at its next meeting.

Council Votes on Godeke Library Branch

It looks like its back to the drawing board for the Godeke Library. Council voted not to move the current location on Slide Road to 3838 50th Street.

Friends of the Lubbock Library expressed their concern about the proposed site not being big enough.

President of Friends of the Lubbock Library Lynne Strickland said, "We are pretty excited they agreed to terminate the contract at 3838 50th Street location, that opens up a lot of avenues of finding a better location completely in South Lubbock."

Strickland said the organization has forwarded other potential locations to Council, like parks outside Loop 289.

Dollar General Store on East 4th Street

Council also decided not to allow a Dollar General store to be built at 4011 East 4th Street. It needed a majority vote, but Councilman Todd Klein and Mayor Robertson both voted against the zoning change from residential to commercial.

Mayor Robertson said, "There was so much opposition from people who lived in the close proximity that is going to affect the way they live." "I felt like I had to vote against it."

The proposed location is in Councilman Floyd Price's district. He expressed support for it,  because he said the area could benefit from commercial development.

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