September 18, 2015
Contact: Robert Soard
First Assistant County Attorney
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan working with the Texas Attorney General obtained a temporary restraining order preventing a local convenience store from selling synthetic marijuana.
Ryan and the Texas Attorney General sued the Super Texas Food Store located at 506 Houston Blvd. after an investigation by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the purchase of a package of suspected synthetic marijuana—called Kush—in June and July. More than 1600 packages were seized.
Tests performed at the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences on sample packets collected by the police officers found they contained Schedule I controlled substances, considered the most dangerous drugs. Under state and federal law, it is a crime to possess or distribute Schedule I drugs.
The temporary restraining order was issued by 165th State District Court Presiding Judge Wesley Ward on Wednesday.
The lawsuit claims that the defendants are violating the federal Deceptive Trade Practices Act because the packages were labeled “safe” and that the store is a “common nuisance” because of the illegal drugs sold there.
Synthetic marijuana is a designer drug, often manufactured overseas, that is marketed as a “safe” and “legal” alternative to marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is not marijuana at all but a dried leafy substance that is sprayed with powerful, added-in hallucinogenic chemicals that are dangerous and highly addictive to the user. The added chemicals are intended to mimic the biological effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
While the product may be labeled “not for human consumption,” that is exactly how it is intended to be used. Ingesting these substances can cause paranoia, psychotic episodes, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. Persons who have ingested Kush have become violent and have suffered paralysis, brain damage, heart attacks and even death.
The next hearing on this lawsuit will be on September 28 in the 165th Court.