DENVER (Legal Newsline) - Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced a civil lawsuit Monday against a Longmont tobacco store and its owner for allegedly selling synthetic drugs.
Tobacco King and its owner, Sang Leaming, allegedly sold products commonly referred to as "spice" without warning consumers that the contents could contain illegal synthetic cannabinoids or other undisclosed and potentially dangerous chemicals. Under state law, all synthetic cannabinoids are illegal, whether or not they are designated illegal by federal law.
Tobacco King allegedly sold the products knowing they would be consumed to affect a drug-induced high.
"Distributors and stores that sell spice products deceptively market these products as safe and legal, when in fact many of the spice products are a controlled substance under both state and federal law and contain harmful and undisclosed chemicals," Suthers said. "By prominently displaying the spice alongside common smoking accessories, Tobacco King made the spice appear to be safe and legal. We have already seen a number of serious health effects from these dangerous products."
Agents from the Liquor & Tobacco Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue previously seized more than 1,000 containers of spice products from Tobacco King.
Suthers' lawsuit also alleges that Tobacco King sold the products without any disclosure of the chemicals or other ingredients contained in packages with names such as Scooby Snax, Black Magic and High Roller Plant Food.
Between Aug. 21 and Sept. 19, 165 Colorado patient emergency room visits were likely linked to synthetic marijuana use, 31 were connected to an unknown drug and 67 still are under review. Additionally, three deaths from the ER visits are under review.
While Suthers' complaint does not allege Tobacco King's products caused of any of the recent emergency room visits, such products can cause hallucinations, kidney failure, breathing problems and other harmful health effects.