No one expects Dallas City Councilman Sheffie Kadane to be an expert on drug culture. He comes across as a staunch teetotaler, someone who associates marijuana with Reefer Madness-style hysteria, who would turn off The Wire in shocked disgust.
Yet his role as a municipal policymaker requires at least a glancing familiarity with what police are dealing with on the ground and how narcotics are impacting the lives of his constituents. He is, after all, the chair of the City Council's Public Safety Committee.
Kadane is trying. At a briefing this morning, he took note of DPD statistics showing that 236 kilograms of methamphetamine have been seized so far in 2013, declaring it the "biggie drug right now."
He also noticed sizeable seizures of K2, which was a new one to him.
"Tell me what K2 is," he told the DPD official giving the briefing. "It looks like that's coming on."
K2, the officer explained, is synthetic marijuana. It was banned by the City Council several years ago but has persisted in slightly altered forms and under different labels.
Kadane should know this. He was one of the 13 City Council members who voted to ban the substance back in 2010, and he took an active role in the debate, even if he was a bit out of his element.
"Now I want to ask: Did somebody mention you could spray this stuff on paraphrenalia?...It could be loose in a room and I could get the effects of it without ingesting it?" he wondered aloud when the Council discussed the matter in August 2010.
He was glad to learn that he wouldn't get high simply by walking into a shady convenience store but nevertheless declared synthetic marijuana a scourge that needs to be eliminated.
"I don't want it out there," he said. "I don't think it's good at all."
He still doesn't, at least as long as he can remember what it is.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.