Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that his office, in coordination with Harris County and the city of Houston, obtained a permanent injunction to shut down Fantasy Smoking and Accessories, which sold synthetic cannabinoids without disclosing that the substances are illegal and potentially dangerous. Store owners Glenn and Judy Cohen will pay more than $2.5 million in a final settlement.
When the Houston Police Department Narcotics Division executed a search warrant at Fantasy Smoking, officers discovered several kinds of synthetic cannabinoids and packaging materials. An employee admitted to police that Glenn Cohen ordered the synthetic drugs, which were delivered to the Houston smoke shop in a trash bag and then individually packaged by employees in a back room.
Attorney General Paxton’s office, the Harris County Attorney’s Office, and the city of Houston collaborated on the case to enforce Texas’ ban on dangerous synthetic cannabinoids, which are classified as a Schedule 1 substance in the state’s Health and Safety Code. To date, Attorney General Paxton’s Consumer Protection Division has succeeded in halting the sale of synthetic drugs at 21 different locations.
Synthetic drugs, known as Kush and K2, are sprayed or injected with a synthetic cannabinoid and deceivingly sold to users as a “legal” high. The dangers of synthetic cannabinoids are widely reported and include severe paranoia, psychotic episodes, violent delusions, kidney damage, suicidal thoughts and self-mutilation.
While synthetic drug packages may include a claim that the product is “legal for sale in all 50 states,” it is against the law in Texas to manufacture, deliver or possess a synthetic cannabinoid. Under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, manufacturers and distributors of synthetic cannabinoids can face civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation.