BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz is putting out a warning to parents this upcoming school year regarding new drugs and paraphernalia they need to look out for, as well as a huge update to the smoking law. He will host a press conference to discuss the increase in the smoking age to 21, and discuss how vape pens, THC oil, and CBD oil are a new challenge in the fight against drugs amongst youth.
On June 7, 2019, a bill that increases the smoking age in Texas from 18 to 21 was signed into law. That means that effective September 1, 2019, adults under the age of 21 will no longer be permitted to purchase or possess tobacco, cigarettes, or e-cigarettes. If a person below the new legal age is caught with any of these products, they will be charged with a Class-C misdemeanor, and fined up to $500. The same consequences apply to those who attempt to purchase, and distribute, these products to underage people. The new law will go into effect at the beginning of the upcoming 2019-2020 school year, which will change how school district officials and law enforcement monitor students.
Also of growing concern is the evolution of the drugs and paraphernalia, and what parents in particular should look out for. With the smoking age lowered, e-cigarettes, also known as “vape pens”, will also no longer be legal to use under the age of 21. There are two types of “vape pens” to be aware of: nicotine based and those that use THC oil. The “vape pen” is a battery powered device that heats the product (oil) and turns it into vapor that is inhaled through a mouthpiece. Authorities say that these devices are becoming extremely popular because of the heavy promotion of misleading information that is being spread, including that they are less dangerous and healthier than traditional methods of smoking, increased discretion.
The Cameron County District Attorney’s Office and Cameron County law enforcement agencies continue to monitor and crack down on illegal products and drugs. This week, the CCDA Special Investigations Unit arrested Roel Martinez and charged him with Possession of a Controlled, a 1st Degree Felony, after he was caught receiving a Federal Express package containing 650 vials of THC oil. The made the bust after executing a search warrant at Martinez’s Harlingen home, where a total of 68 additional THC vials were retrieve. In total, 718 vials of THC oil weighing approximately 11,000 grams were taken off the streets.