TxDPS bans selling, using synthetic pot
While Port Arthur and Nederland have passed local bans against the selling of K2 spice, a type of synthetic marijuana sold like an incense at many convenient stores, the City of Orange has decided to not pass a local ordinance to ban the substance, as they do not feel that a local ban is needed, City Manager Shawn Oubre said.
“We’ve had discussions with the police chief about it, but there is a state ban on the books already,” Oubre said. “Our position is that we see no need to redo it on the local level if the state level ban can just be enforced.”
K2 spice mimics the effect of marijuana when smoked, which led to a ban by the Texas Department of State Health Services on April 22.
Sgt. Robert Ashworth of the Orange Police Department narcotics division said that they have not enacted any type of investigation into the sales of K2 in the city yet.
“I’m not sure yet on the fines and penalties for those using and selling,” Ashworth said. “This is still fairly new to us. We want to try and get all our ducks in a row.”
Penalties for the manufacture, sale or possession of K2 are outlined in Section 481.119 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act, according to a press release by the DSHS. The penalties remain in effect unless the Texas Legislature determines a different penalty group for the substances.
But, once the legislature makes its decision, Ashworth said that they would aggressively enforce the ban.
“It’s still out there,” Ashworth said of the spice. “Sometimes you get situations like this, and you have to wait and get the legislation passed first.”
Spice has been around since the mid 90s, though it has just recently gained notoriety as a legal alternative to marijuana, even though warning labels on the packaging says that it is not for human consumption.