August 27, 2015
Contact: Robert Soard
First Assistant County Attorney
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan working with the Texas Attorney General and City of Houston has obtained a temporary restraining order preventing a local convenience store from selling synthetic marijuana.
Ryan, the Texas Attorney General, and the City of Houston sued the store located at 2709 Broadway, after an investigation by the Houston Police Department’s Narcotics Division resulted in the purchase of a package of suspected synthetic marijuana—called Kush—on July 22. A subsequent inspection by HPD narcotics officers that same day found multiple packets of the same substance, as well as a hole in a back wall through which they suspect the clerk sold the product to customers outside the building. The clerk admitted selling 50 to 75 packages of Kush every day.
Tests performed at the Houston Forensic Science Center 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 151st State District Court Judge Michael Landrum 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 at 1:30 p.m. on September 3 in the 151st Court.