JIMSONWEED HITS BOOKS AS ILLEGAL DRUG
MUSTANG - About a year after 10 Mustang High School students became ill after ingesting jimsonweed, a state law has taken effect making it illegal to use or cultivate that plant or other dangerous substances for mind-altering purposes.
The law covers a number of natural or synthetic substances that a person could use to get high or intoxicated.
Mustang schools Superintendent Karl Springer said he approached lawmakers after police were unable to recommend charges against any of the students involved in distributing jimsonweed to other students.
"When this incident happened, our police department wasn't able to do anything because there were no laws on the books regarding jimsonweed," Springer said.
With the help of Rep. Ray Young, R-Yukon, and Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson, R-Oklahoma City, Springer said he was able to ask lawmakers to close the loophole. "We want to have a system that's seamless when it comes to our schools and the law being in sync," Springer said.
State Bureau of Narcotics spokesman Mark Woodward said law enforcement will now treat jimsonweed the same as other naturally occurring substances. The law went into effect Nov. 1.
For instance, poppies occur naturally. However, it is illegal to use poppies to make opium, which is illegal.
"We won't be going out and eradicating jimsonweed, but we will work with schools and police departments on specific cases," he said. The new law will help prosecutors file charges in unusual cases like the incident at Mustang High School, Woodward said.