Synthetic marijuana is currently illegal in the city of Lubbock.
The difficulty of trying to enforce the ban is that the compounds change regularly, making it legal to sell. That's why Councilwoman Karen Gibson has proposed an amendment to the city's current synthetic marijuana ordinance.
"There are lots of new compounds out there," Gibson said. "We've been working on this for quite some time and we've finally got to the point with the attorneys that we can go ahead and get it on an ordinance. We're adding 30 new compounds to the ordinance. It's really past time. I've been pushing and pushing and it finally came to fruition."
The amendment will be discussed and voted on at the City Council meeting on Thursday.
"You know, you keep trying and you keep trying and it gets so frustrating," Gibson said. "You figure out, 'Okay this is the key,' and then you hit a brick wall, and so you go around that wall and you hit another one. And we just have to keep trying until us and the DA's office and the PD and everybody can come together on something and say, 'Okay, this will work.'"
Gibson said that synthetic marijuana is still a major problem in Lubbock, and that city enforcement can only do so much.
"I think it's very important that there's not only a state ban but a federal ban," she said. "I think it's going to have to start federally, work down to the state and work at the local level. We're all going to have to work together. It's evolving and it's getting more and more dangerous and deadly."
Gibson said that along with the ordinance amendment, the city is working on other ways to try and ban synthetic marijuana.
"This is just one of many avenues that we're looking at," she said. "We're doing some other things. The state will hopefully get on board, but we've got a year before the state ever gets on board, so in the meantime, we just have to fight it at the local level. We're working on ways to stop it. We're working on ways that they can't go around the loophole, so it's something that we're looking at constantly and trying to figure out what we can do to completely shut that door."
Last year, it was Councilwoman Gibson who spearheaded the effort for a synthetic marijuana ban. At a city council meeting, she got teary-eyed while listening to testimony from parents whose children used the drug. She said that day still drives her to fight synthetic marijuana.
"I've never had anyone close to me on it," she said, "and I want to make sure that I don't have anyone close to me on it."
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