Ga. company ordered to stop selling, advertising 'bath salts'
WINFIELD, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - A West Virginia judge has ordered a Georgia-based company to stop selling and advertising its "bath salts" and other synthetic drug chemicals in the state.
Putnam County Circuit Judge Phillip Stowers granted a preliminary injunction against Nutragenomics Manufacturing LLC Thursday.
Under the court order, Nutragenomics is prohibited from conducting business in West Virginia and must prominently place a notice on all of its Internet pages that it is banned from selling to West Virginia residents.
Nutragenomics also must not deceive consumers by claiming that its chemical compounds are legal or benign.
In addition, the company must provide a database identifying all customers in West Virginia from Jan. 1, 2008 to the present and the amount of products sold.
"Cutting off the supply of these illicit substances at the source is central to ending this debilitating menace," West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw said in a statement Thursday.
"This action by our Consumer Protection Division protects our state's citizens from further harm by this distributor's dangerous drugs."
McGraw's office filed a lawsuit against Nutragenomics in April.
According to McGraw's complaint, the company is a "major distributor" of the ingredients used to make synthetic versions of controlled substances that are widely available in the state.
These so-called "designer drugs" imitate the effects of marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and methamphetamine, and are illegal in West Virginia.
The attorney general claimed the company markets the chemicals in bulk under phony labels like "incense," "K2," "bath salts," "plant food" and other, innocent-sounding names, falsely claiming that its products are safe.
"Working in conjunction with the Metro Drug Unit, the Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies, my office is committed to ridding West Virginia of the plague that these designer drugs pose for our communities," McGraw said in April.
"Cutting off these illicit drug compounds at their source is an effective start to cleaning up the problem."
In his 13-page suit, McGraw also had asked that the company, located in Alpharetta, Ga., and Drew Green, its "sole organizer," be required to pay a civil penalty of $5,000 for each violation of the state's Consumer Protection Act, as well as all litigation and court costs.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.