City council passes synthetic marijuana ordinance

By Alisa Boswell

CMI staff writer

aboswell@pntonline.com

Local smoke shops say an ordinance passed Tuesday by the Portales City Council will not affect them one way or another because they do not sell any illegal synthetic marijuana products.

In a unanimous vote, the city council passed an ordinance that will strip a business of its business license if caught selling synthetic drugs three times in a period of two years.

According to the ordinance, if business owners or operators violate the ordinance, they will lose their license and will be unable to operate any business, sell, dispense or distribute any products or goods within the city for one year from the date of the third violation.

Spokespeople at the two Portales smoke shops, FN Smoke Shop and Smokin Dreamz, declined to comment further on the subject.

Smokin Dreamz was raided by the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office the end of September for selling potpourri to an informant, who made it clear they intended to use it for consumption, according sheriff’s office officials.

The ordinance follows an Oct. 15 ordinance passed by the city council prohibiting the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana.

Both ordinances target all synthetic and misbranded drugs, which often have the street names of “spice” or “bath salts.”

Several Portales students were hospitalized in September after consuming synthetic drugs, prompting both the city ordinances and the investigations on the local smoke shops.

Councilors agreed to pass the ordinance Tuesday with the understanding that the wording would be changed to say parties will not be allowed to operate any business, sell, dispense or distribute any products or goods within the city for one year from the date of the third conviction rather than saying the third violation, a suggestion made by Interim Portales Police Chief Pat Gallegos.

Gallegos pointed out to council members that trials often take a full year or longer to be completed, so by the selling party is found guilty, the year of their business being shut down would have already passed.

Councilors agreed they would look at the ordinance again in six months to see if they would like to make amendments.

Councilors also discussed the possibility of approaching Roosevelt County commissioners in the near future to encourage them to make a similar ordinance.

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