Store owners to be prosecuted for selling ‘fake pot’

synthetic cannabinoids
In this photo released by the McMinnville Police Department, shows seized synthetic cannabinoids. The drugs, sold as incense under names including Spice, K2 and Yucatan Fire, are banned in the state of Oregon. (AP Photo/McMinnville Police Department)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Local smoke shops that continue to violate the law received a stern warning from local police, and the feds.

KOIN 6 News obtained a letter sent to head shops that sell synthetic cannabinoids. These are products often billed as incense, potpourri or bath salts and often labeled “not for human consumption” — but intended for exactly that. It’s often identified as being “fake pot,” but the symptoms can be extreme and the side effects can be deadly.

The letter said that in stores found selling these banned substances the store owners can be criminally prosecuted. This warning letter — to local head and smoke shops – came from the U.S. Attorney, the DEA and the Portland Police Bureau.

“We want these shops to be on notice,” said Portland Police Sgt. Pete Simpson. “We’re telling you, don’t sell this stuff — or be subject to criminal prosecution.”

OHSU Toxicologist Dr. Annette Lopez applauds the crackdown.

They’re not regulated at all,” Lopez said. “We don’t know who’s making them [and we have] no idea what’s in them.”

Lopez also works in the OHSU emergency room — and sees the end-effects on users of these synthetic cannabinoids. Some patients, she said, suffer total kidney failure from the chemicals.

The letter, which adds local enforcement measures to the federal crackdown, states a store owner’s “willful blindness” as to a product’s end use will not shield them from prosecution.

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