By Ashley Hinson
LUBBOCK, TX- The Lubbock City Council's proposal to expand the synthetic marijuana composition list of illegal substances from nine to 39 won't keep the drugs off store shelves, according to Dr. Brian Carr, Chairman of the Board of Health.
Carr, the lead author on the council-charged investigation into synthetic pot, said merchants will just find another way around the law.
"They keep changing the chemicals," said Carr. "Rather than it being brought up from time to time by council members, I'd prefer to see the ordinance have ... a regular review schedule."
Carr also wants the penalty if caught with the drugs increased from a misdemeanor to a felony. He said currently, because it's considered a petty offense, most law enforcement officials have little inclination to test for the drugs.
"It's very likely in my opinion that those compounds are present in the products that are being sold here in the city, but we just have no way of knowing," said Carr.
"When it becomes a felony now they're starting to have interest and we can probably get their cooperation. When we have that testing ability, we can really go after these merchants who are trafficking these poisons."
As a psychologist, Carr often treats patients who are in the grips of synthetic pot and said they're some of the worst drugs he's ever seen.
"I've had people just in the last few months who have had seizures, who have been hospitalized … this isn't something you just play around with," said Carr. "I've seen deaths and I don't want to have anymore loss of life."
Carr has become a strong advocate in alerting the public of the drug's dangers, "We need to get the message out there," said Carr. "We need to get a handle on it now because there's a lot of misinformation out there about it being safe because it's legal."
He said recent protests against synthetic pot at area smoke shops have helped spread the word.
"I hope that we can come together as a community and do something about it," said Carr. "We need to do something about it before it's your son, your daughter, your sister, your brother or your parents.
Although Carr wants more than just an expanded list of illegal substances put into law, he is still behind the council's efforts and wants the proposal to pass. The proposal's first reading will take place at City Hall, Thursday at council's 6:15 pm meeting.
The Board of Health meeting will be Friday where members will go into more detail on their campaigns to eliminate the drug. Carr is not only the chairman of the Board of Health, he is also a candidate for City Council District 5.