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Head shops sue Minnesota over synthetic pot ban

By keytone, Jun 28, 2011 | Updated: Jun 28, 2011 | | |
  1. keytone
    The war on synthetic drugs is far from over.

    A lawyer representing several head shops filed a lawsuit today against the state of Minnesota, alleging that a statewide ban on synthetic pot is unconstitutional and not supported by scientific evidence.


    A hearing is scheduled in Hennepin County Wednesday morning where a judge will rule on a temporary restraining order, which would postpone the ban from going into effect this Friday.


    "Their determination is based on anecdotal evidence," says Mark Kurzman, the attorney representing three companies that collectively own seven head shops. "It's just based on stories that have no scientific backup."


    Kurzman filed a federal suit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency last December, alleging the federal ban on five of the most commonly used synthetic drugs violated the U.S. Constitution.

    The DEA said Kurzman and his clients "jumped the gun" -- the ban wasn't even in effect yet.

    Kurzman quickly shot back: "They're the ones jumping the gun," he told City Pages in January. "They're trying to make it a felony to sell these substances, but they have no evidence that they're dangerous, other than a collection of random press reports."
    A judge dismissed the suit later that month.


    The lawsuit filed today says the Minnesota Legislature didn't take scientific evidence into account when considering the ban, and instead relied on unverifiable stories told by law enforcement agents. Kurzman says the law is also phrased in a way that is far too confusing for the average Minnesotan to comprehend.

    "They wrote the law in the way that was overly broad and prevents a regular person from figuring out what is legal and what is illegal," says Kurzman.

    Though he hasn't seen the complaint yet and couldn't comment on the specifics, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says the lawsuit's timing is strange.

    "It's highly unusual to enjoin any law before the date of its implementation or until there are cases resulting from that law," says Freeman in a statement. "And finally, this would not meet even the broadest interpretation of the courts' ruling on standing and justiciability as set forth in Griswold vs. Connecticut and Roe vs. Wade."
    A message left with Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson's office was not immediately returned.

    The hearing will take place at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Hennepin County government center.

    By Andy Mannix Mon., Jun. 27 2011 at 3:32 PM
    story taken from the Minneapolis City Pages

Comments

  1. The Network
    Re: Possible Cannabinoid Ban In Minnesota?

    I doubt that. I hear everything that goes on in my state and I've never heard shit about this.

    The Network added 2 Minutes and 25 Seconds later...

    On a side note; if this somehow did slip past me, it's not gonna slow me down for a second. It's not like they're raiding mail anyway, I'll just buy a gram of pure JWH-*** for as much as one would buy probably a gram of ground up grass and 10mg of JWH-***.

    The Network added 2 Minutes and 43 Seconds later...

    Another note: I looked around more and it looks like this was starting to circulate back in january. Here's the bill or whatever itself
    how many billion cannabinoids did they miss with this one? lol
    fuck you minnesota, you used to be cool.

    The Network added 5 Minutes and 47 Seconds later...

    oh fuck I read the analog part. still not stopping me :)
    Totally unconstitutional, I hope the head shops made enough money from the thousands of people they ripped off that they get a good lawyer and win.

    The Network added 5 Minutes and 57 Seconds later...

    Hey drugs-forum, you know what would be cool? a fucking edit button
  2. keytone
    Its unfortunate. I'm not to up to par with my drug laws of Minnesota, however if this passes on Wednesday it would seem to make it pretty hard to get any derivatives. Some RC distributors are halting shipments to Minnesota already.
    :thumbsdown:
  3. keytone
    Get it while its hot. Both figuratively and literally. hardy har har

    :::UPDATE:::


    ‘Fake pot’ ban could be delayed; judge's ruling expected today


    Published June 30, 2011, 12:00 AM


    MOORHEAD – The new Minnesota ban on synthetic pot set to kick in Friday might have hit a snag.


    A judge’s ruling today will determine if a lawsuit challenging the new state law criminalizing a wide range of substances will delay the ban from becoming effective Friday.

    The new regulations bar the sale and possession of so-called synthetic marijuana, often sold as incense under brand names like K2 and Spice. Any substance meant to produce a similar effect as an illegal drug or that has a similar chemical structure is also banned.

    Three owners of stores in Minnesota selling products covered by the ban, including Tom Tepley, the owner of Discontent in Moorhead, are claiming in a lawsuit filed Monday in Hennepin County District Court that the law is too broad and vague to be enforceable and isn’t based on sound science.

    The Minneapolis lawyer representing those merchants said the challenge should be argued and settled in court before the law is allowed to go into effect.

    "People shouldn’t have to be busted and go through all of that if what they have is not illegal,” Marc Kurzman said Wednesday.

    Kurzman argued it isn’t clear what the ban covers, asserting it could be construed to outlaw bird seed sold at pet stores and hemp clothing available at department stores.

    The store owners want Judge William Howard to issue a temporary restraining order to block enforcement of the law. Kurzman said the alternative is to wait for people to appeal their cases after an arrest, which he claimed would burden the state’s courts.

    On behalf of a long list of defendants including Clay County Attorney Brian Melton and Moorhead City Attorney Brian Neugebauer, Hennepin County prosecutors argued in written filings Tuesday that there’s not a strong enough chance the challenge will succeed to warrant holding off on implementing the law.

    The prosecutors also say the plaintiffs have no cause to sue yet because none of them have been affected, and concerns the prohibitions are vague or broad should be considered within a specific situation.

    Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, was a co-author of the bill and is confident it will stand up to a review in court because legislative legal staff signed off on it.

    Lanning said the statute also allows the state pharmacy board to use emergency procedures to make a substance illegal, a power North Dakota’s board has and tried to use to outlaw the same sort of synthetics.

    That flexibility is needed, and it explains why the law includes the provisions for any “substantially similar” analogs, Lanning said.

    “It seems like every time we turn around there’s some new drug or substance,” he said.
    Tepley, owner of Discontent, said in a statement to The Forum that it puts a huge dent in sales on all items if competitors offer “herbal incense” his store does not. Still, he wants to follow the law and is seeking clarity.

    “It is difficult to determine from product to product what is legal and what is not,” Tepley said.

    He said Discontent won’t carry the incense products after the end of business today and will re-evaluate the situation next week.

    Lt. Brad Penas, the head of investigations for Moorhead police, said if the law does go into effect Friday, police plan to ask stores that carry those products covered by the ban to pull them from the shelves.

    “If that doesn’t happen, we’d have to look at the next step,” Penas said.

    Written by Dave Roepke, from the Inforum
  4. keytone
    The H.F. No. 57 bill was made into law and is effective as of July 1st, 2011. All synthetic cannabinoids are now illegal to shelve in the state of Minnesota.
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