Lubbock cracking down on synthetic marijuana in shops - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock cracking down on synthetic marijuana in shops

Pictured: Gina Johnson, WASP member Pictured: Gina Johnson, WASP member

The City of Lubbock and Lubbock County District Attorney's Office announced at a news conference on Tuesday that they are working together to bring an end to synthetic marijuana in Lubbock shops.

"Chad Weaver came to me and he had found a Texas penal code that he felt like we could use on labeling," said Mayor Pro Tem Karen Gibson. "We went to Matt Powell's office, had a visit with him, he came on board and I just cannot than them enough for what they have done since then."

Lubbock County District Attorney Matt Powell said that on June 6th, the District Attorney's Office hand delivered letters to 53 businesses informing them about the new policies the City would be enforcing.

"What I'm here to say is we know who you are," Powell said, "we know who's selling it and we know who's not selling it, and we're doing everything in our power to come after you by the law and get it off the shelves in Lubbock Texas."

The letter specifically said that labeling synthetic marijuana with "not for human consumption" did not comply with state and federal labeling requirements.

City Attorney Chad Weaver said he thinks this development really demonstrates the power of people in a community.

"This is also a testimony to the power of a citizen who sees an issue," Weaver said, "brings it to their elected official, and - while it is often slow to get there and I acknowledge that this is a frustrating part of this system sometimes - I think we've gotten to a good place and the right place for Lubbock. It really is not a legitimate product. It's a dangerous product, it's a destructive product and it's a deadly product."

Many of the people whose lives were touched by synthetic marijuana were in the audience at the conference, and were very excited about the city's new plan.

"It's something we worked hard for," said Gary Leatherwood, a member of Warriors against Synthetic Pot. "We've wanted somebody to step up and make these people that are selling this poison to our kids, make them accountable. And these guys have done an excellent job. It sounds like they really have a plan of action together and we can actually retire our picket signs here pretty soon."

"It's overwhelming," said fellow member Jeannine Kelley. "That's the only word I can find is overwhelming."

Gina Johnson was one of the first members of the community to bring the problem of synthetic marijuana to the city council. This day was a long time coming, but she knows the wait was worth it.

"If it had not been for Karen Gibson, none of this would've happened," Johnson said. "When I first brought it to the city in 2012, she had not ever heard of it, she was totally shocked by it and she picked the ball up and ran with it. We've still got a long ways to go. It's not gone yet. I'm hoping this will snowball and spread throughout the county, throughout the state and then throughout the U.S., because this is an epidemic it is killing kids, it is killing adults, it is destroying lives and we have to stop it."

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