In an attempt to snuff out what some officials are calling a drug epidemic, the Houston City Council has unanimously approved a ban on synthetic marijuana, which now makes it illegal to sell or even use the substance. The goal of the city’s latest ordinance is to financially cripple the drug’s distribution center.
Reports indicate that law enforcement agencies have been largely unsuccessful at enforcing a statewide ban on synthetic marijuana products — commonly referred to as “K-2,” “Spice,” or “Potpourri” — mostly because the law only targets certain chemical variations used in the manufacturing process. Essentially, once a particular product has been found to contain unregulated chemicals and is subsequently removed from the shelves, a mad scientist is prepared to launch a similar substance containing different chemical components.
Interestingly, the US Drug Enforcement Agency credits the Houston area for being a crucial avenue for the distribution of synthetic marijuana. A recent article by The Houston Chronicle claims the presence of these chemical cannabinoids has caused many local officials, residents as well as the business community to live in fear of morbid uprising of destitute dope fiends – “many of them homeless residents buying it for as low as $1 from convenience stores.”
James Miller, chief of controlled substances at the Houston Forensic Science Center, says his department has been consumed by daily lab tests and field requests. This is concerning because he has seen a rapid evolution in the types of chemicals being used to manufacture these products — they are more sophisticated and have the capacity to send the human mind into a downward spiral of hallucinogenic madness and uncontrollable emotional outbursts.
“It is an epidemic,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “It is the fastest growing drug of choice across the United States, and it is many, many, many times more potent than natural marijuana and, in fact, it has no relation to marijuana other than it stimulates some of the same receptors in the body. It can cause stupor, but it can also cause aggression and agitation, and it’s causing a lot of concern across the community.”
The ban on synthetic marijuana goes into effect immediately, and it comes with some expensive penalties. “This will give HPD the tools to go in to the convenience store, the gas station, the smoke shop, wherever it’s being sold, and tell the owner, ‘Either you get rid of these packages now or we’re going to cite you for each and every package,'” said City Attorney David Feldman. “At $2,000 per package, that can get pretty substantial.”