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  1. JayBee
    4 businesses sue, saying action will make them close. Before federal officials outlawed synthetic pot last month, stores got rich selling it. In fact, they became addicted to the profits and now argue their businesses can't survive without it.

    "If my business were to suffer an immediate loss in sales, it could not survive," Scott Farrell, general manager of Down in the Valley in Golden Valley, said in an affidavit. He said the newly banned stuff accounted for more than 41 percent of the store's gross profit between April and September.

    Down in the Valley is one of four Minnesota shops that have sued the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Justice Department over the DEA's Nov. 24 emergency order making synthetic cannabinoids just as illegal as marijuana and methamphetamine.

    The shops claim the DEA's action is illegal and violates due process. They also contend there is no scientific evidence showing the newly banned substances actually have narcotic effects. They want an injunction and temporary restraining order banning enforcement of the law.

    "The DEA has overstepped its bounds by taking over the acts of Congress without sufficient scientific evidence or support," said Marc Kurzman, the attorney representing the shops. "We're arguing that the government should not be above the law."

    Charles Miller, a Justice Department spokesman in Washington, said the government wasn't commenting on the suit but would be filing an answer with the court by Jan. 6.

    "We will file something at that time, and it will speak for itself," he said.

    A chemistry professor discovered synthetic cannabinoids in 1995, and users believe they mimic the effects of marijuana. They are sold as incense under a variety of names that evoke the marijuana world, including K2, Spice, Mojo, Smoke, Genie, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Red X Dawn and Pandora Potpourri.

    When the DEA published its emergency notice in the Federal Register, it said that it was doing so "to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety" and that the order "will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities."

    Kurzman and the shops dispute both contentions. In sworn affidavits accompanying the lawsuit, the owners of the four shops contend the DEA's action will have a big impact on them, if not put them out of business.

    Wael Sakallah, owner of Hideaway in Minneapolis, said that in the past year, the incenses the DEA seeks to criminalize have accounted for more than 70 percent of his sales and that from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, the products accounted for almost $609,500 in gross profits.

    "If my business were to suffer an immediate 70 percent loss in sales, it could not survive; I would be forced to close the business within weeks," Sakallah wrote.
    Last year, fake pot accounted for $1.1 million in sales, or about 40 percent of the annual sales at Discontent, a shop in Moorhead that is one of the plaintiffs, said the company's president, Tom Tepley.

    "Currently, the sale of incense is 57 percent of my sales, and I would lose over $6,000 a day in sales if I had to stop selling the product," Tepley said in an affidavit. "If my business were to suffer an immediate 40 percent loss in sales, it could not survive; I would be forced to let 16 employees go, raise health insurance premiums or cease health benefits for my employees and close two stores within three months."

    Some cities, including Duluth, had moved individually to outlaw the substances. When Duluth enacted its ordinance, it said it was doing it on public-health grounds, claiming preliminary studies had shown that three synthetic cannabinoids "are between 3 and 100 times more potent than THC, the active ingredient in marijuana."

    But proponents of the substances say there isn't much scientific research backing the claim that the stuff acts like a narcotic. Todd Vanderah, a professor of pharmacology and anesthesiology at the University of Arizona Medical School in Tucson, wrote in an affidavit provided by the plaintiffs that the five compounds included in the DEA's emergency order "have not been tested for their ability to produce rewarding effects in animals."

    "In my professional opinion the five listed synthetic cannabinoids have not been shown to result in addiction, activation of the central nervous system rewarding behavior, nor tested for psychoactivity in animals," he wrote, going on to say there was no evidence the substances would have an effect on humans.

    So why do people use it?

    "I personally don't know people who use it, but I'm representing people who sell it," said Kurzman in response to the question. "They say people are buying to use it as incense, which they use for comfort. The belief that you can get high from it is fueled by the newspapers."

    He said there was a need to research the substances before outlawing them. "Without scientific research, we think it's premature to turn tens of thousands or millions of people into felons overnight," he said. "We prefer the regular rulemaking. It's the whole process of due process."

    The fourth shop involved in the suit is Duluth's Last Place on Earth, owned by James Carlson. In his affidavit, he said that the synthetic pot had accounted for more than 50 percent of his store's sales over the past year and that in November alone, he made $96,500 profit off the herbal incense.

    So far this year, his store in downtown Duluth has made $932,000 profit from the substances the DEA is outlawing.

    "If my business were to suffer an immediate 50 percent loss in sales, it could not survive," he wrote. "I would be forced to close the business or file bankruptcy within weeks."

    David Hanners can be reached at 612-338-6516.

    http://www.twincities.com/news/ci_16969350?source=rss&nclick_check=1

    By David Hanners
    dhanners@pioneerpress.com
    Updated: 12/29/2010 11:36:30 PM CST

Comments

  1. kailey_elise
    My question to this statement then, is: what do you plan to do when the sales start to drop off as various drug testing facilities start adding the synthetic cannabinoids to their panels, making the whole reason they are SO attractive to people a moot point? ;)
    BAH HA HA HA HA!!! Oh, that's fucking ADORABLE! :- Got to admit, with no animal studies, though, it's a great angle to pursue! ;)

    ~Kailey, who does think the government is making a big deal out of nothing...
  2. JayBee
    Smoke shops sue to block ban of ‘synthetic marijuana’ blends

    [​IMG] Four shops in Minnesota have filed a lawsuit against the US Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) over a federal ban on five chemicals commonly found in a blend of legal herbs many have used as a synthetic form of marijuana.

    The DEA announced in November that it would use its emergency powers to place five synthetic cannabinoids into Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), a category reserved for substances with no accepted medical value and a high potential for abuse. The five substances are: JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol.

    Herbal blends containing the chemicals were commonly sold as incense and marketed under the names K2, Spice, Yucatan Fire, Skunk and others. Like the main active substance in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, the five substances bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain.

    The emergency ban was to last for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services study whether the substances should be permanently controlled.

    The lawsuit claimed the ban is unconstitutionally vague because under the Federal Analog Act, a section of the CSA, any chemical substantially similar to one of the five synthetic cannabinoids would also be illegal to possess.

    "No person of normal intelligence would be able to determine what is, and what is not illegal," the lawsuit states.

    The lawsuit additionally alleged that the DEA's use of its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five substances violated the Congressional Review Act and Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    "The DEA has overstepped its bounds by taking over the acts of Congress without sufficient scientific evidence or support," Marc Kurzman, the attorney representing the shops, told Pioneer Express . "We're arguing that the government should not be above the law."

    "Without scientific research, we think it's premature to turn tens of thousands or millions of people into felons overnight," he said. "We prefer the regular rulemaking. It's the whole process of due process."

    The owners of Last Place on Earth, Down In the Valley, Disc and Tape and Hideaway LLC said that they derive at least 50 percent of their profits from the sale of products containing one or more of the five synthetic cannabinoids. They are seeking an injunction and temporary restraining order banning enforcement of the new law.

    "I just don't see them taking this product that I think is less harmful than alcohol, less harmful than prescription pills and banning this when cigarettes and alcohol and everything else is legal," the owner of Last Place on Earth told WDIO. "I don't think it's right for them to take this away from a percentage of people."

    Smoking JWH-laced herbal blends has been linked to numerous severe reactions around the United States, with large doses triggering hallucinations, rapid heart rates, vomiting and in extreme cases, seizures.

    It has not been shown to be carcinogenic or cause long term health problems, but numerous countries in the European Union have already banned the substances.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/companies-challenges-federal-ban-fake-marijuana/

    By Eric W. Dolan
    Thursday, December 30th, 2010 -- 12:48 pm



    [​IMG][​IMG]
  3. JayBee
    Minnesota head shops sue DEA over synthetic marijuana

    [​IMG] Marijuana legalization is on the back burner in Minnesota these days, but that hasn't stopped the state's stoners from opening up another front in the nation's drug wars. Four head shops from across the state recently joined together to sue the Drug Enforcement Agency over its recently enacted ban on synthetic marijuana products. The suit, brought in federal district court, alleges that the DEA's ban of five of the most commonly used synthetic cannabinoids is unconstitutional, violates the separation of powers, and skirted mandatory review processes.

    Jim Carlson, the owner of the Last Place On Earth, a headshop in Duluth, has already been litigating fake pot for months now, ever since Duluth became the first Minnesota city to effect a ban on the products.

    Carlson sued the city, effectively running circles around them with expert affidavits from pharmacology experts who showed the city's ordinance was phrased so broadly it outlawed most cold medications as well.

    That legal battle is still dragging on -- Carlson has already racked up $30,000 in attorney fees -- but for the moment the city is allowing him to keep selling his product.

    When word of the federal ban came down, Carlson decided to fight it too, but realized he might want some help with the legal bills. He joined with the owners of the Hideaway, a Dinkytown shop, Down in the Valley in the western suburbs, and Disc and Tape in St. Cloud.

    Together they hired Marc Kurzman, a Minneapolis lawyer with a pharmacy degree, to help them fight the ban, which went into effect Christmas eve. Because the four stores are challenging the new rule they have been able to continue to sell the banned products.

    Not that their business would have changed much if they hadn't gotten that relief. There are so many synthetic cannabinoid compounds -- with more being identified every month -- that Carlson says he's already laid in a supply of fake pot that skirts the ban.

    "My suppliers actually hired a DEA-licensed lab to identify the compounds, and the stuff in the compliant product wasn't even on their list of stuff to look for," Carlson says.

    So why bring the suit if he's already got a perfectly good work-around?

    "Because the law is completely ridiculous," Carlson told City Pages yesterday. "Every day in the paper I read about kids getting $50 fines for marijuana possession, but selling my products is a felony? It makes no sense."

    http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2010/12/minnesota_head_shops_sue_dea.php

    By Nick Pinto,
    Thu., Dec. 30 2010 @ 1:30PM
  4. Alfa
    Re: Smoke shops sue to block ban of ‘synthetic marijuana’ blends

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  5. JayBee
    Twin Cities Store Owners Sue to Block 'Fake Pot' Ban

    Four Minnesota business owners have sued the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to try and block an imminent ban on synthetic marijuana - so-called "fake pot."

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The D.E.A. could institute the ban any day.


    While a Justice Department spokesman would not comment on the lawsuit on Wednesday, a D.E.A. news release last month said the emergency rule was needed to,"avoid an imminent public health crisis" of, what it called, an "unsafe, highly abused" substance.

    But the plaintiffs accuse the D.E.A. of lacking any scientific research to back up its claims.

    "It's not fair to take it out of the shelf now without any proof (that) this is not safe," said Wally Sakallah, owner of the Hideaway novelty store in the Dinkytown section of Minneapolis, near the University of Minnesota, where the product is sold in a variety of smells.

    Sakallah joined store owners in Golden Valley, Duluth, and Moorhead in filing the lawsuit on Dec. 22.

    Read the federal lawsuit filed in Minneapolis against the D.E.A.

    http://kstp.com/news/stories/s1900703.shtml
  6. Alfa
    Please change your post to the correct news format, so that it displays correctly on our main news page.
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  7. Phenoxide
    Re: Twin Cities Store Owners Sue to Block 'Fake Pot' Ban

    The lawsuit document can also now be found in our documents archive here.
  8. fatal
    Really these are still attractive to those who wish to smoke but are drug tested. I understand the window of detection for testing on these compounds is 72 hours. This means you can still smoke it a lot more than weed if you get drug tests.

    :joint:
  9. EscapeDummy
    :laugh: So true.

    But that is the same bullshit that the government tries to use, and swim is glad that these headshop sellers are trying them at their own game, even though it's blatantly obvious they are lying through their teeth.
  10. HemiSync
    Not all users of these products are being drug tested. AFOAF uses these just because they are legal versus the illegal use of Marijuana. At 50 years of age my FOAF does not wish to break any laws and only started using the synthetics because it is legal to do so. They actively promote the legalization of Marijuana, but until that day happens they will obey the laws and actively pursue the decriminalization of Marijuana which in their eyes would solve most of these issues with synthetics.

    My FOAF is happy to see any group or organization, at the very least, challenge this abuse of Federal powers.
  11. Wickedest
    So I have a few questions to all of this I havent seen asked is that its now Jan 14th I have heard the ban was passed

    was it? or not?? what is the executive order 12291 doing for the ban?? or was it bypassed?? I've seen Jwh-018 still for sale online and I'm finding nothing but conflicting information on the subject seems the information has stopped since Dec 24th

    also I've seen posting saying Jwh-018 has been & still is being lab tested but has been found to be as harmless as marijuana but DEA claims of its dangerous what effects will the testing by lab have in all this?

    If more testing by DEA proves it is harmless but is a mimic what do you think DEA will still do about it??
    what happened with all the law suites to sue??
    If its banned can the ban be lifted early with these law suites & test results??
    How long will it take before any labs results are made public??

    why dose everyone believe that all these chemicals will be made totally illegal soon & not end up highly taxed like marijuana in legal states or just end up taxed like tobacco???

    what fuel has this added to the fire of legalizing marijuana has it helped move forward or has it pushed it back??

    if tomorrow marijuana was made legal in all 50 states where would synthetic cannibinoids stand would they be legal or not??

    Why didnt DEA just call synthetic cannibinoids pharmaceuticals and make them by prescription only??? were they not being studied as pain killers & such??
    that would of stopped all street sales (not black marketed) & still making it legal to possess kept it out of the hands of kids & with limited research no one would even have a prescription right?? I believe it would of giving the chance to more private labs to test the DEA FDA labs testing it

    watch it end like mdma with lab result from meth calling it the results of mdma

    Could they do that?
  12. Wickedest
    that last question could they do that was call them pharmaceuticals? could they do that?
  13. Alfa
    Good question. Based upon the ADME toxicological studies that have already taken place for JWH-018, its not unlikely that JWH-018 would make it trough the needed studies. The sheer quantity of cannabinoid blends consumed in the last 7 years (many millions of doses) also indicates that.
    But such studies would take some time.
    After that the government would have to approve it. Im not sure if thats an issue or not.

    Perhaps academically trained members could elaborate on this.

    The end result could be a controlled substance thats approved as a medicine. In other words: people would have to get a script from their doctors, to be get it.
  14. Terrapinzflyer
    MN Judge Won't Stop Nationwide Ban on 'Fake Pot'

    A federal district court judge in Minnesota on Friday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to prevent a nationwide ban on so-called "fake pot," an herbal incense coated with a chemical that the Drug Enforcement Administration has deemed is an "unsafe, highly abused substance."

    In his order, read from the bench after an hour-long hearing at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis, Judge Patrick Schiltz said he lacked the authority to act on the D.E.A.'s notice to temporarily control the chemicals, as four Minnesota business owners had sought.

    "I have no jurisdiction over this action," Schiltz said.

    The judge appeared skeptical not only of his ability to hear the case but also whether the business owners can challenge - at any level - the D.E.A.'s emergency scheduling authority to regulate certain substances on an emergency basis for one year, an authority which Congress decided was not subject to judicial review.

    "I do believe he was mistaken in his analysis of the law," attorney Marc Kurzman, who represents the business owners, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS after the hearing.

    Kurzman said he intends to file a request with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Minnesota, as soon as Monday.

    The dismissal of the lawsuit means the D.E.A. could issue the ban any day. Once in effect, it would make the sell, possession, or use of the substances a felony.

    01/21/2011 8:59 PM
    http://kstp.com/news/stories/S1936810.shtml?cat=1

    News Video story embedded on story linked to above
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