City, Prosecutors Threaten Felony Charges for Those Selling Synthetic Pot

Published 06/10 2014 09:51AM

Updated 06/12 2014 06:08PM

By: Meredith Hillgartner and James Clark

LUBBOCK, TX -- Lubbock County Criminal District Attorney Matt Powell and City Attorney Chad Weaver sent a stern letter to certain Lubbock businesses Tuesday morning. The businesses are suspected of selling synthetic marijuana.

“Such products commonly contain banned substances in violation of felony state and federal laws,” the letter said.

The letter continued, “As you are well aware, people who ingest these products exhibit paranoia, hallucinations, pains, rapid heartbeat, seizures, panic and suicidal thoughts.”

It also said the injury or death of customers could result in felony charges against the owners and operators of the businesses that sell synthetic marijuana. Labeling such products as “not for human consumption” does nothing to protect the businesses from criminal prosecution, the letter said.

Lubbock EMS has said in the past that is now common to five or more people to the emergency room with life-threatening issues every day because of synthetic marijuana. A group called WASP (Warriors Against Synthetic Pot) started after the near death experience of Gary Leatherwood’s son. WASP has been putting pressure on the city and District Attorney to crack down on synthetic pot.

After 18 months of protesting and raising awareness WASP is getting what they wanted. 

The group is made up of family and friends of those directly affected by synthetic marijuana use.

Gina Johnson was the first person to approach the city council, after he child had a terrible reaction to the drug. 

Johnson said without Mayor Pro-Tem Karen Gibson, none of this would have ever happened.

"When I first brought it in, I told them an epidemic was coming, it has hit," Gibson said. "They [city officials] got something together for a plan of action, so we've got steps to take." 

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