Chief expresses concerns over marijuana

Pella Police Department (photo from Pella PD Facebook page)

Farming hemp in Iowa may create more issues for law enforcement, as it can be difficult to tell the difference between that and marijuana.

Pella Police Chief Robert Bokinsky, who working in Ocean City, Md., prior to coming here, says that town was a “proving ground” for drugs. This required him to become an expert on drugs and their effects, including marijuana and THC.

He believes as a society, we need to decide who we are. He understands the medical value of cannabis, but smoking marijuana is unsafe and unhealthy.

According to Bokinsky, THC attacks the CB receptors in the brain. CB1 provides the hallucinogenic, pleasure effects. CB2 is the pain relief.

Chemists have worked to create synthetic substances that can offer similar effects. According to his research, there are over 500 synthetics in existence, all of which attack the CB receptors. They are unpredictable, he says, and their potency can vary.

For instance, HU210 is 500-800 times more potent than marijuana. With the chemistry involved, one small molecular manipulation to create HU211 makes the substance completely inert.

In his experience, attempts to create synthetic or designer drugs can have fatal consequences. Overdoses can occur with any drug, including marijuana.

One of his concerns is that marijuana and be manufactured in different forms. He urges parents to throw out any gummy bears their children may receive while trick-or-treating this Halloween. A gummy form is a popular edible form of marijuana. It is very easy to overdose by eating too many of these edible drugs.

Beyond these concerns, there is still the issue of America’s lean toward legalizing marijuana. Several individual states have already made it legal.

“Just because a group wants to smoke weed, doesn’t mean it should be legal,” Bokinsky said.

Marijuana is a substance that is difficult for law enforcement to test for. Alcohol, which is legal, also provides several ways for officers to identify when it has been abused by a driver or someone otherwise creating a public disturbance. Marijuana can have similar effects, but to confirm its use requires a blood test. Blood tests require a suspect’s consent.