After the tears had dried from Thursday night's emotional City Council meeting, the question remained - what can Lubbock do to stop this drug?
"After hearing from citizens whose lives have been devastated by the sale of synthetic marijuana in local smoke shops, I am very concerned that this issue be addressed promptly," said Mayor Pro Tem Karen Gibson. "Today, I have contacted the City Attorney's Office and asked that it begin researching how, and to what extent, the City of Lubbock can ban the sale of synthetic marijuana."
Gibson was obviously moved by the testimony she heard Thursday night, listening to people whose lives had been affected by synthetic marijuana.
"One young man got up there who was a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, I don't know how old. I looked into his eyes and he pleaded with us to bring an end to this problem. It just really moved me," she said.
She wants to make sure this drug doesn't take anymore lives.
"The widespread availability of synthetic marijuana in Lubbock at local smoke shops is troubling, and I would like to see these local businesses exercise their civic responsibility and voluntarily remove hypnotic substances from their shelves. In the meantime, I am exploring what legal options the City has to ban the sale of these substances," she said.
Lance Dyer lives in Georgia. His son Dakota took his own life after smoking synthetic marijuana in March of this year. Since that time, he has made it his personal goal to see the drug eradicated. He says that Lubbock has the power to ban its sale immediately.
"Cities were able to enact a ban in one night using their executive powers for the health and safety and well-being of the people in their community. It allows you to remove a particular harmful deadly substance from your community and give you time to study if necessary, do research if necessary, or to draft a permanent ordinance," he said.
He compares the synthetic marijuana problem to a farmer in town whose lettuce crop gets contaminated by salmonella and tries to sell it at the local farmers market.
"Would the city council not remove that lettuce from the store shelves or the farmers market - go to this farmer and shut him down and destroy the lettuce until they knew the area was safe? Or would they sit back and study it for two or three weeks and let people continue to buy tainted lettuce?"
Gibson says the Council will know what they can legally do by the next meeting and hopes to have a definitive ban in place by the second meeting in December.
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