Contact: Robert Soard
First Assistant County Attorney
The Office of Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has negotiated a court order to close a Montrose-area smoke shop selling synthetic marijuana.
The order also forbids the owners of Fantasy Smoking and Accessories at 1340 Westheimer from selling illicit synthetic drugs at any other location.
Acting on behalf of the State and in partnership with the City of Houston, County Attorney Vince Ryan obtained a court order last week from State District Court Judge Michael Landrum.
Synthetic marijuana, also called “Kush,” is a designer drug, typically 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. It is often marketed to children.
According to the lawsuit, undercover officers from the Houston Police Department purchased Kush in packages variously labeled “Spongebob” and “Zilla,” featuring pictures of the cartoon character and Godzilla, the movie monster. A clerk said that the store had been selling 15 to 20 of these packages a day since 2014. He also informed officers that the synthetic cannabinoids would be delivered in a trash bag and that employees would individually wrap the drugs in the back room of the store.
“It is an unbelievably heinous crime to market illegal drugs to children using cartoon and movie characters,” said County Attorney Ryan. “The real monster is not Godzilla but any person who would promote these products to our kids.”
The Office of the County Attorney has been working with the Texas Attorney General and the City of Houston using the state’s consumer protection laws to shut down businesses that sell synthetic marijuana.
The case has been set for trial in the 113th District Court in September 2016.