N.D. AG issues order against Big Willies

By Bryan Cohen | Nov 19, 2012

BISMARCK, N.D. (Legal Newsline) - North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem announced a cease and desist order on Wednesday against Big Willies ATP LLC, its owners and their employees to ban them from selling synthetic drugs.

Under the terms of the order, Big Willies ATP LLC, William Nickel, Ryan Zueger and the company's employees may not sell incense, bath salts or other dangerous synthetic products.

Products sold in North Dakota head shops such as Serenity, RedXDawn, Magic Gold, Kratom and Lost in Trance are street drug alternatives that contain substances not listed on the label that have harmful side effects, Stenehjem said. State law requires packages to display a full list of ingredients and appropriate warnings.

"These products, although labeled not for human consumption, are marketed and sold as legal alternatives to street drugs," Stenehjem said. "These street drug alternatives are known to cause serious, and potentially lethal, health effects."

Violations of the North Dakota Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act can result in a fine of $1,000 per violation for each sale or advertisement of a prohibited product.

Head shops in North Dakota are located in Grand Forks, Fargo, Dickinson, Williston, Jamestown and Minot. While no recent sales of dangerous street drug alternatives were confirmed at the locations, Stenehjem said that he will take similar action against other businesses or persons who sell the products covered in the order against Big Willies.

"This office will continue to monitor activities in head shops across the state and will immediately take action to stop any business that sells any of these dangerous street drug alternatives," Stenehjem said. "I will use every resource available to me to protect the citizens of this state from this scourge."

Stenehjem also requested that the state's Board of Pharmacy adopt emergency rules to add the dangerous products and their variations to the schedule of controlled substances. Stenehjem will appear on Thursday before the board to propose the emergency rules.

"The epidemic resulting from the sale and use of these products is an emergency, and cannot wait until the upcoming legislative session," Stenehjem said. "Too many lives are at stake in the meantime."

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