Schneiderman sues 12 head shops

Bryan Cohen Jul. 12, 2012, 5:26am


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Tuesday that his office has filed 12 lawsuits throughout New York against retailers who allegedly violated the state's labeling laws by selling synthetic drugs.

The head shop retailers named in the lawsuits include Daze Smoke Shop, East Coast Psychedelics, Village Sensations, Giggles, Shining Star Enterprises, 20 Below/This and That, Goodfellas Alternative Smoke Shop, Rolling Fire Glassworks, Trip on the Wild Side II, Twisted Headz, Look Ah Hookah and Pavilion International. The retailers allegedly sold designer drugs including bath salts and synthetic marijuana illegally.

"The proliferation of illegal synthetic drugs has become a national crisis," Schneiderman said. "In Rochester and across the state, our undercover investigations have revealed the widespread sales and promotion of bath salts and other dangerous drugs that are destroying people's lives.

"We discovered that head shop employees were giving tutorials on how to use dangerous intoxicants. With today's actions, we are fighting back to control this crisis, and ensure that the days of profiting off the illegal sale of these dangerous drugs are over."

The drugs have psychoactive effects similar to effects of substances obtained for illegal drug use, Schneiderman says. They are often packaged with bright graphics and innocuous names to give an impression that they are harmless, Schneiderman says.

The head shops allegedly labeled the products with names such as Cali Crunch, VOODOO, AMPED, Bizarro and MJ Blueberry Aromatic Potpourri, and marketed them with descriptions like dietary supplements, sachets, potpourri, glass cleaner, butterfly attractant and incense.

Schneiderman's lawsuits also pursue retailers for the illegal sale of nitrous oxide to the public, which is a specific violation of the state's Public Health Law. Whip Its, the common name of nitrous oxide, have been connected to several deaths by asphyxiation and other adverse effects, he says. The gas is used by youths for an easy way to get high, he says.

Schneiderman's lawsuits have been filed in 12 counties against 16 store locations. The suits seek an immediate end to the sale of mislabeled drugs and an accounting of all commodities sold or offered for sale including the product's name, manufacturer, distributor, description, retail price and number of units sold.

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