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Synthetic Drug Arrests in Texas: Police Focusing on K2 and Spice in Dallas

Pot gets more people busted in Texas than any other illegal drug.  Most drug possession arrests in Texas are for marijuana, and a little under half of those arrests lead to convictions (48.2% in statutory county courts and 42.3% in constitutional county courts), according to a Texas Department of Public Safety study (for more on this, check out the February 2016 post on Grits for Breakfast).

So if someone wants to get high and not get arrested, what can they do?

For lots of people, the answer is buying an alternative product out there in the marketplace which mimics the effects of THC (the chemical in marijuana plant that provides its buzz). That’s synthetic marijuana and we’ve written about it before — check out our post, “Synthetic Drugs Law: Will New Texas Law Succeed in Outlawing Spice, K2, and Other Synthetic Highs?” from March 2015.

 

DPD.K2products.2016

Some of the locally popular K2 / Spice products according to DPD.

 

Seattle Seahawks’ Derrick Coleman Felony Car Crash Arrest Tied to Spice / K2

You may recognize synthetic marijuana by one of its product names, like K2 or Spice, or Paradise and Serenity. Or maybe Mad Pittbulls and F’d Up!, the two kinds of synthetic marijuana that were seized by police after Seattle Seahawks’ fullback Derrick Coleman was in a car crash up in Washington State.

Coleman’s Dodge Ram pickup truck reportedly was going 60 mph when it rear-ended a Honda Civic, leaving that driver with a concussion and broken collar bone as his car was shoved up an enbankment next to the roadway where it then rolled over. Reports are that the Dodge pickup’s internal computerized “black box” shows that Coleman did not hit the brakes to try and avoid the crash, and that the gas pedal was floored for four seconds more after the impact. Wow.

The police officers found the two kinds of spice in Coleman’s vehicle after Coleman allegedly admitted to them at the accident scene that he had been smoking synthetic marijuana shortly before the accident. His defense lawyers are fighting this, arguing that Coleman suffered a concussion in the crash and his statements at the scene aren’t reliable.

Whether or not Derrick Coleman ends up with a criminal conviction on his record as a result of this accident has yet to be told. It’s a case in process. However, it’s a good lesson for people here in Dallas, Fort Worth, and North Texas who are enjoying the ready accessibility of a variety of synthetic marijuana, K2, and spice products here.

Spice and K2 Are Popular in Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex

Here in our part of North Texas, spice and K2 are really popular drugs. Of course, they may be sold in packaging labeled as “incense” or “potpourri” but nod-nod-wink-wink we all know what they are: Fake Pot.

It’s not like this packaging fools the police. They know it’s out there.

And even though the state law now bans the sale of synthetic marijuana (read our earlier post) this doesn’t mean that the legislation has worked to get spice out of Texas. Or Dallas. Because it hasn’t.

Why? It’s pretty easy to find in local smoke shops as well as online. And it’s inexpensive, too.

However, the key to spice and K2 is that these synthetic drugs with their ever-changing homemade recipes are able to evade detection in a drug test.

So, while you may risk an arrest for possession if you’re caught in Texas with K2 in your pocket or purse, your risk of getting busted is much less if you don’t have the drug on you while you’re using it. That’s because drug tests might reveal marijuana, cocaine, meth, or other drugs — but not K2.

So, it’s still considered somewhat of a “legal high” among its clientele. Even though the law was passed trying to ban it. Consider this: less than 2 months ago, the Dallas Fire Department reported answering 192 drug overdoses calls for synthetic drugs in a 5 week time period (beginning December 1, 2015) and that they expect even more synthetic OD calls in 2016.

And consider this: it’s addicting. Many marijuana users will tell you that smoking weed isn’t addicting. But smoking synthetic marijuana is a different story. There are spice users who become addicted to the drug just like those who become addicted to heroin and other opiates.

Dallas Police and K2 / Spice in 2016

Last month, the Dallas Police Department joined with Dallas Fire Rescue to report on their efforts to combat synthetic marijuana in our community.

Dallas Police Chief Brown admitted that law enforcement is “inundated” with trying to control the problem in downtown Dallas. They’re trying to track down and arrest dealers of local K2 / Spice products, as well as asking city officials to come up with new city ordinances that ban smoke shops from selling stuff like rolling papers and pipes that are used with smoking it.

Other cities have already done this, like Phoenix, where they’ve created “paraphernalia-free zones” in certain parts of town, like near schools. Get caught with paraphernalia there, and you’re facing arrest on that alone.

And it’s not like law enforcement hasn’t closed down smoke shops here — remember how a traffic stop lead to the big federal bust of The Gas Pipe shops? For details read our earlier post, “Lessons of The Gas Pipe Bust: Traffic Stop Leads to Major Synthetic Marijuana Bust and Big Federal Forfeiture Grab.”

Felony Arrests for K2 and Spice in 2016

So, we can expect more arrests (including felony arrests) for synthetic marijuana possession and distribution here in Dallas and North Texas in the coming months. And that’s not going to include additional criminal charges for things like felonies that result from using the drug, like Seahawk Derrick Coleman is fighting right now.

For more info, check out the February 2016 Dallas Police Department’s Briefing Materials, “K2 and Drug Paraphernalia Shops,” prepared by Deputy Chief Vernon Hale for the City of Dallas Public Safety Committee online here.

 

And read our web resources as well as Michael Lowe’s Case Results and his in-depth article,

Synthetic Drugs Law: Will New Texas Law Succeed in Outlawing Spice, K2, and Other Synthetic Highs? – Dallas Justice Blog


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