An early victory in a new phase of the war against synthetic drugs. New York's attorney general has announced 12 lawsuits against 16 head shops statewide for selling allegedly mislabeled or improperly labeled products. Wednesday, judges granted 12 of 12 restraining orders, pulling the products from store shelves. As our Kat De Maria tells us, one of those decisions came against Twisted Headz on North Salina Street in Syracuse.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- "Removing them right away would prevent irreparable harm to the health of the public and first responders and health professionals," said Assistant Attorney General Judith Malkin.
It wasn't the first time drugs made a cameo in court. But it may have been the first time Judge Anthony Paris saw ones like these, with names like White Rhino and Kratom.
The Attorney General's Office is suing Twisted Headz in Syracuse and several other head shops across New York for products they claim are mislabeled.
"These products are promoted as designer drugs, meant to be smoked, ingested and consumed for people to get high. We don't know what is in the products," Malkin said.
During arguments on the attorney general's application for a temporary restraining order against Twisted Headz Wednesday, the lawyer for the new owner says the shop was targeted.
"Why is he being singled out when these products are being sold all over the place: Several other shops, gas stations, mini marts all over the state?" asked attorney Patrick Haber, who is representing Twisted Headz LLC.
The lawsuit claims Twisted Headz sold a senior investigator products labeled as potpourri then detailed how to smoke them. Lawmakers have been banning certain chemicals in an attempt to outlaw synthetic drugs. But new combinations are being created. Judge Paris granted the attorney general's order.
"This is a new approach to trying to get this stuff off of the market and should lead to removal of products by the store owners if they determine they're improperly labeled," Malkin said.
Under the order, not just a few select products but any the Attorney General's Office sees fit will come off of Twisted Headz's shelves.
"There are many more products just like this at Twisted Headz," Malkin said.
"This kind of gives the attorney general a blanket pass to restrict many items. We don't know what those are," Haber said.
Judge Paris has yet to hear the Twisted Headz lawsuit itself. But the restraining order keeps White Rhino, Kratom and more out of the shop, and out of court, for now.
The New York State Attorney General's Office and Twisted Headz will be back in court August 22nd.