MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

March 22, 2013

Town passes ordinance banning synthetic marijuana

— A new, synthetic marijuana known by a range of street names including “Spice” and “K2” served as the primary topic of discussion during last week’s Board of Trustees Meeting.

“Synthetic marijuana” refers to dry herbs sprayed with chemical compounds designed to emulate THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Fort Gibson Police Chief Clint Vernon told the Board manufacturers of the drug have “no regulations,” which means a variety of dangerous ingredients could end up in the mix.

“What’s in there depends on how it’s manufactured, and a bad batch could wipe out our kids,” Vernon said.

Board member Myra Cookson said she has heard of problems surrounding the drug in Tahlequah, and town attorney Forney Sandlin echoed the sentiment for Muskogee.

The chief said he has already seen “residuals” from more serious cases in neighboring towns.

“In one particular case, we found 400 empty packets of it,” he said. “We want to prevent this from happening.”

The Board approved Ordinance 2013-001, which amends existing drug laws to include synthetic marijuana.

The Board also heard a request from Rennie Ohl, pastor of local congregation Church of the Word, for permission to plant a redbud tree in one of the town parks.

The church wanted to plant the redbud, which is Oklahoma’s state tree, in honor both of Arbor Day and the congregation’s first anniversary in town.

“We just really wanted to plant the state tree in Fort Gibson,” Ohl said. “We want to plant wherever you guys think would be best.”

On the stipulation that he coordinated his efforts with town administration, Ohl’s request was unanimously approved.

“As long as you clear it with us, you can plant where you want,” Trustee Jim Huggins said.

Other items of discussion and/or decisions included:

• The painting of Cemetery Road Water Tower should be completed this week, according to the administrator’s report.

• Ordinance 2013-002, which would have closed 160 feet of Artillery Ave, was passed to the next Board of Trustees meeting for further discussion.

• The Board passed a motion to close Revielle Street between Battery Street and Irving Street.

• Fort Gibson’s sales tax revenues were reported to be down from last year, but still “well within budget,” according to town administrator Kathy Carson.

• Although discussion of the sports complex’s fencing was passed to another meeting, Board member Brad Clinkenbeard said progress seemed to be progressing quickly, with “two fields almost to grade.”

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