On April 22, 2011 the Texas Department of State Health Services outlawed marijuana-like substances that are commonly found in K2, Spice and other synthetic marijuana products. The DSHS placed five synthetic cannabinoid substances in Schedule I of the Texas Schedules of Controlled Substances, making it illegal to manufacture, distribute, possess and sell the substances. The five chemicals, JWH -018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol are found in K2 and other synthetic marijuana substances. Penalties for the manufacture, sale or possession of K2 are Class A or B misdemeanors.
K2 or Spice, often marketed as herbal incense, contain substances that produce psychoactive effects similar to those from smoking marijuana. These marijuana-like substances are readily available through smoke shops, gas stations and the Internet.
On Wednesday May 18, 2011 the Orange County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of Orange Police, West Orange Police, and Pinehurst Police conducted an undercover operation targeting several primary target locations engaging in the county wide distribution of synthetic marijuana. The targeted stores are believed to be the main source of supply in Orange County. The purpose of this operation is to educate and insure compliance to the new law.
The following locations were targeted in the operation:
Conoco Station Hwy 105 @ Hwy 62 in Orangefield
Country Store Hwy 1442 @ Hwy 105 in Orangefield
Country Store Hwy 87 @ Dawnwood in Little Cypress
Chevron Store Hwy 87 @ Abes Rd. in Little Cypress
Shell Station Hwy 12 next to Post Office in Mauriceville
Shell Station Hwy 12 next to Rusty Rooster in Mauriceville
JR’s Country Store 5000 block of N. Main in Vidor
JR’s Caney Creek Caney Creek @ N. Main in Vidor
Quick Stop # 3 N. Main @ 1132 in Vidor
Lone Star Store N. Main @ Spoonmoore in Vidor
The following stores were also targeted inside the City of Orange:
Shell Station 1101 Green Ave.
Valero Station 1555 N. 16th St.
Shell Station 3110 N. 16th St.
Texas Country Store 3701 16th St.
Shell Station MLK at Strickland Dr.
Smart Stop Across from Hospital on Strickland
Stop & Drive 1800 Dupont Drive
During the operation, Officers went to each location and made contact with the store clerk or owner and advised them of the law concerning synthetic marijuana and also gave them a copy of the new law. Officers seized the synthetic marijuana found at the locations. No one was arrested as a result of this operation, however follow up visits will be made and arrests will be conducted if the stores continue to violate the new law concerning synthetic marijuana.
Bath Salts do not contain any of the banned substances as required by Texas State Law, which would make it illegal to possess or sell. However, current legislation is being discussed that will ban all bath salts that contain certain chemical. It is expected that this new legislation could be passed and take effect in as little as sixty days and at the latest by September 1, 2011.
The Sheriff’s Office has advised all stores that when the new legislation becomes effective pertaining to bath salts, anyone caught selling them will be arrested and prosecuted. Many of the store owners have voluntarily agreed to pull the bath salts off the shelves in anticipation of the change in the law.
Sheriff Merritt advised he would have liked to seize the bath salts as well but has no lawful authority to do so. Unlike the Cities who can enact City Ordinances making it a Class C Misdemeanor to possess bath salts, Texas Counties, have no Regulatory Authority to enact ordinances pertaining to the possession or distribution of bath salts.