K2 Controversy: State Considers Felony Classification

State legislators are debating a ban that could put synthetic marijuana in the same category as ecstasy and methamphetamine. That means if passed, K2 and other similar forms of chemical marijuana would be classified as a felony.

Already, many Texoma towns such as Bowie, Graham, Nocona, and Electra have outlawed K2, making possession of the substance a misdemeanor.

Yet the potential ban and felony charge has many in Texoma talking.

"I think what they're trying to do is send a message that its dangerous and that we don't need people using it," says

"I don't think it should be illegal, especially in that kind of level," says Jssie Brashear, a local musician.

"I think its a very good idea, because people don't need to be smoking that stuff," says one Wichita Falls woman.

Senator Florence Shapiro is proposing a comprehensive state wide ban on 6 forms of synthetic forms of marijuana. Not everyone is happy with the potential felony charge.

"If you get busted with weed, you know, they put a slap of your wrist and you are good to go," said Brashear, "And this stuff, if you get busted and its a felony, its ridiculous!"

The Senator says it's not ridiculous because the drug is dangerous. "Marijuana is not a good thing. but the components that make up K2 are even worse. Marijuana is naturally grown. We don't know what's in these synthetic mixes, or the long-term effects," she tells Newschannel 6.

Officer Kris Henning, with the Wichita Falls Police Department, understands some of the medical effects of the legal substance.

"It does a lot of damage to the brain, it does a lot of damage to the heart and the lungs and the liver because it is synthetic," she explains, "It's basically like a poison going into you body."

And If this potential poison impairs your judgement, you will be placed behind bars, whether it's legal or not.

"Whether it's K2, marijuana or over the counter medications or prescription meds. If you are intoxicated on that to the point that you are a danger to yourself or someone else, then we can make an arrest on that," says Officer Henning, "If you are using a substance that is causing you to behave in a danger to yourself or someone else, then we make the arrest to protect."

One woman agrees with the treatment. "I think they should be put in jail."

However if the legislation were to make it on the law books, more training would be needed for police officers.

"We would just need to make other officers aware of what it looks like so that when you see it, you can recognize it, and be able to carry out whatever means we need to," says Officer Henning.

She also says if the ban were put into place, drug dogs would need to be trained as well. Since it is a legal substance, they don't have to recognize the sight and smell. If it is banned, more training would be needed.

Law enforcement officials may have to wait a little longer before they begin training. Senator Shapiro tells Newschannel 6 the ban on synthetic substances still has a long way to go before becoming law.

Mary Moloney, Newschannel 6