Havonnah Johnson, News 9
BETHANY, OK-- Some metro residents are facing a hefty fine for a common plant that may be growing right in their yard.
Bethany City enforcement officers are going door to door giving warning citations demanding residents remove the moon flower plant or pay a $500 fine.
The plant boasts beautiful flowers that only bloom this time of year after sunset, but it also produces prickly balls that are full of seeds. Originally used for medicinal purposes, ingesting a few seeds make you sleepy, Bethany teens are using it to get high.
"The notice says it's an actual $500 fine if you do not remove this beautiful plant from your garden. My opinion is that it's frustrating that mindless teenagers should not spoil the fact that it is a beautiful plant," said Nikki Clark, a Bethany homeowner. Police say two Bethany teens overdosed on locoweed earlier this month and now are now forcing residents like Nikki Clark to dig the plants up or pay the hefty fine.
08/02/2011 Related Story: Bethany Teens In Good Condition After An Overdosing On 'Locoweed'.
"It's a hallucinogenic. It is a poison and it can kill you," said Paul Jestice, a code enforcer with the city of Bethany. "It is extremely dangerous, really you don't need to have a plant like the gypsy weed because it is so dangerous and the state has outlawed it."
Besides hallucinating, users become hot and flushed. Their pupils bulge and this can cause blindness. Yet Clark, is more concerned with her garden.
"It's going to create a giant hole in my area and next year its just going to grow back," Clark said.
Teens crack open the bud and use the seeds to make tea or they eat them. Clark is getting nearby homeowners to sign a petition. Her argument is other medicinal plants can cause harm. City officials say anyone who doesn't remove the locoweed plant is breaking the law.