County proposing ban on certain incenses

Argen Duncan

The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office is hoping for a county ban on certain types of incense that are often used to produce a high similar to that of marijuana.

Chief Deputy Malin Parker said he supplied the Roosevelt County Commission with a sample ordinance at their meeting Tuesday. The ordinance is being rewritten to be specific to the county, and Parker anticipates commissioners will adopt it at their next meeting.

Under the ordinance, the use, possession and sale of synthetic cannabinoids and salvia divinorum would be forbidden within the county, but not within the boundaries of municipalities.

Such products are dried vegetation mixed with specific chemicals and sold under a variety of brand names.

“The popularity is increasing more and more,” Parker said.

People on probation use the substances because they don’t show up on drug tests but produce the same effects as marijuana, he said. Without an ordinance, Parker continued, law enforcement have no recourse.

“It’s not illegal to sell publicly, and it’s filtering into our school systems, so we just wanted to nip this problem in the bud before it gets completely out of control,” Parker said.

Deputies have been seeing synthetic marijuana for about 2 1/2 or 3 years, he said.

Portales Police Deputy Chief Lonnie Berry said his officers hadn’t seen much use of the substances, but he knew they were sold in the county. Because of the availability, he said, people would find a way to abuse the substances, so controls would be beneficial.

Of four Portales smoke shops, representatives of two said they didn’t sell any kind of incense. One said the incense in stock wasn’t the type used as a marijuana substitute and the other said he wasn’t sure of the ingredients in the incense.

Also effective Tuesday, the Drug Enforcement Administration made possession or sale of several chemicals used in synthetic marijuana blends or products that contain them illegal for at least a year, according to DEA information. The chemicals are JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47, 497 and cannabicyclohexanol.