Beginning Friday, the synthetic marijuana-like substance that has become so popular is illegal in the State of Texas, and the Pct. 4 Constable’s Office will handle anyone caught selling or in possession of the substance the same as any other illegal drug.
Pct. 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden said the drug has been readily available throughout East Montgomery County and surrounding areas, marketed as incense. Although most of the packaging states “not for human consumption,” word spread quickly that it could be smoked like marijuana and was a “legal high.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services announced the ban on Wednesday, placing five synthetic cannabinoid substances in the Schedule I penalty group of the Texas Schedules of Controlled Substances. They released a statement that said it would be illegal to manufacture, distribute, possess and sell the substances. The manufacture, sale or possession of K2 and similar “fake pot” products are Class A or B misdemeanors.
Penalties for the manufacture, sale or possession of K2 are outlined in Section 481.119 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act and remain in effect unless the Texas Legislature changes the substances’ penalty group.
Class A misdemeanors carry a possible fine of up to $4,000 and/or confinement in jail for up to one year. Class B misdemeanors carry a possible fine of up to $2,000 and/or confinement in jail for up to 180 days.
Constable Hayden wants East County residents, merchants, and those who travel through Precinct 4 to know there will be “zero tolerance” for any violations related to the substance and checks will be performed at locations known to have distributed various forms of the substance.
“We’re giving fair warning, letting people know these substances are now illegal, and we will enforce this ban as vigorously as the bans on all other controlled substances and illegal drugs,” Constable Hayden said. “If you’re using it, selling it or transporting it, you’re going to jail.”
“I would also encourage stores currently selling bongs, smoking pipes, and other items used as tools to abuse drugs to remove those from their shelves,” he said. “They attract a bad element to their stores and they’re a blight on our part of the county.”
Constable Hayden said all of his deputies are aware of the new ban and he hopes the public is also, because ignorance of the law will not be an excuse.