Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan won a restraining order Wednesday from a Harris County civil district court against the owners of an Alief shopping center and their tenant to close the store and stop the sale of synthetic marijuana.
Judge Randy Wilson, of the 157th Civil District Court of Harris County, ordered the owners of the Smoke & Tote Shop located at 12127 Bissonnet to cease operations, finding the store participated in criminal activity. He also ordered the Lock Lim Management Trust, the owner of the shopping center, to take measures to close the store immediately.
Investigations by the Houston Police Department between October 2016 and February 2017 resulted in arrests for possessing and selling synthetic cannabinoids at the Smoke Shop and the seizure of over 280 grams of Kush. Weapons, including a sawed off shotgun and a revolver, have been recovered from the store.
Over the course of the last five months, neighboring business owners complained to police about drug-related activity at the shop, including individuals clearly suffering the effects of Kush wandering the parking lot and scaring employees and customers.
Synthetic marijuana, or Kush, is a designer drug typically manufactured overseas and 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. All it takes is one time for the person to experience a significant health crisis. It is often sold in colorful packets with flavors such as strawberry and blueberry to appeal to children, and is the second-most abused drug by high school students, after marijuana itself. It is also illegal in Texas.
“My office will continue to work with law enforcement to send the message to store owners and landlords that these dangerous designer drugs will not be tolerated in Harris County,” County Attorney Ryan said.
The next hearing in this case is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on April 28 in the 61st Civil District Court of Harris County, 201 Caroline, 9th Floor.