The state's Attorney General's Office is suing a Watertown head shop for allegedly selling synthetic versions of illegal drugs.
The suit, filed Tuesday in State Supreme Court, goes after Kenneth Hamm, owner of Trip on the Wild Side II on Mill Street.
The AG is calling on Hamm to stop selling the following "designer drugs":
- Lucky Kratom Rx
- Zaney Bar
- Adarol Energy
- Best Whip nitrous oxide
According to the lawsuit, designer drugs "are packaged with innocuous names and bright graphics to give the misleading impression that their use is harmless."
The AG says the drugs may cause numerous and dangerous reactions, including hallucinations, suicidal or homicidal thoughts and even death.
However, the lawsuit says the products target people who want to get high, but don't want to test positive for drugs.
The suit wants Hamm to pay a $5,000 civil penalty "for each deceptive act" he allegedly committed when he sold the products.
According to the lawsuit, an undercover investigator spoke with staff at the shop, who said all of the products were "dietary supplements."
In the case of "Zaney Bar" pills, the suit quotes a shop clerk as saying, "They just relax and chill ya."
According to the lawsuit, prescription Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication, is sold illegally on the street and is sometimes known as "Zaney Bars."
The suit claims the undercover investigator was offered Zaney Bar as an alternative to the street drug.
"By selling, offering and exposing commodities for sale that do not satisfy New York state law regarding product labeling and by selling, offering and exposing falsely described commodities, respondent has repeatedly and persistently violated the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law," the suit reads.
The lawsuit claims the "designer drugs" are misbranded because the labels fail to
- say who made, packed or distributed the products,
- give adequate directions for use
- identify potential health effects from using the products
7 News spoke with Hamm Tuesday.
When asked directly if he sells synthetic drugs, Hamm said, "I sleep at night."
He went on to say, "Everything at my store is 100 percent organic and legal."
Hamm said gas stations are the ones selling the illegal synthetic drugs and no one in the government "is going after them."
Instead, he said his store is being fairly targeted.
"We have a bigger problem (with bath salts)," he said. "They (New York State Attorney General's Office) need to go after a gas station. You should see my store when they (gas stations) are closed on Sundays. It's full of people looking for the illegal drugs that we don't sell."
"We don't sell bath salts, period," he said.
Hamm said that if he is selling something that isn't legal, the manufacturers are to blame because they can change the chemical compounds to get it onto store counters.
Hamm said he has an attorney and said everything related to the case will go through him.
He didn't name the attorney.
The lawsuit against Trip on the Wild Side II is among 12 lawsuits the AG has filed in New York against head shop retailers for "violating the state's labeling laws by selling designer drugs."
(The pictures are of the products the AG's office confiscated from all over the state.)
See the AG's news release
Watch AG Eric Schneiderman's statement