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Post date: July 26 2012

A.G. Schneiderman Secures Permanent Ban On Sale Of Mislabeled Synthetic Drugs At Rochester Head Shop And Penalty For Owner

Owner Of Look Ah Hookah To Pay Over $30K For Violating State Labeling Laws

Schneiderman: Creative Labeling Law Approach Gets Swift Results In Getting Dangerous Synthetic Drugs Off The Shelves


ROCHESTER— Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a judge has signed a consent order demanding mislabeled or unlabeled products, including synthetic marijuana and other intoxicants, be permanently removed from the store shelves of Look Ah Hookah locations in Rochester, Henrietta and Webster. In addition to the removal of these harmful products, the owner of Look Ah Hookah, Theresa J. Dyer, must also pay a $30,000 penalty and $2,000 in costs.

As part of Attorney General Schneiderman’s undercover investigation, agents went into Look Ah Hookah stores and purchased items such as Kratom, Fly Agaric Mushrooms, VOODOO Aromatic Potpourri, and Experience Salvia 150FX.

"The proliferation of synthetic drugs has become a crisis in Rochester, New York State and across the country. Today's order proves that, by taking a creative approach in using the state's existing labeling laws, we can get swift results to remove dangerous synthetic drugs off store shelves and hold sellers accountable for breaking the law," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "We will continue to use every tool in our arsenal to combat the growing and dangerous synthetic drug epidemic."

The agreement, which permanently bans the sale of any synthetic drugs or intoxicants, was signed today by the Honorable David M. Barry, Supreme Court, Monroe County. Today's order comes after Attorney General Schneiderman's office conducted an undercover investigation into head shops across the state. The investigation revealed that head shop retailers were selling designer drugs, including commonly known synthetics such as "bath salts" and "synthetic marijuana." Undercover investigators statewide also discovered head shop employees were promoting these dangerous synthetic drugs and giving tutorials on how to prepare and ingest them.

Under New York State's Labeling law, at minimum, consumer commodities must identify the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor, the common product name, the net quantity of contents, and the net quantity of servings, uses or applications represented to be present with appropriate directions and warnings for customary use.

On July 10, the Attorney General filed 12 lawsuits against 16 head shop locations, including the Look Ah Hookah chain in Rochester. Within 36 hours of filing the lawsuits, the Attorney General's office obtained Temporary Restraining Orders from all 12 judges effectively removing the mislabeled products off the shelves. Today’s order permanently bans the retailer from selling synthetic drugs.

Although Federal and State authorities have attempted to outlaw certain chemicals and their analogs and to remove these items from commerce, their efforts continue to fall short as the chemists and producers providing the products for head shops simply alter formulas and stay ahead of the legislation.

The Attorney General's lawsuits also pursue retailers for the illegal sale of nitrous oxide to the public, a specific violation of the State Public Health Law. Commonly known as "Whip Its," nitrous oxide has been linked to several deaths by asphyxiation and other adverse health effects. The gas is typically used by youths who see it as an easy "high."

In addition to Look Ah Hookah, judges issued orders removing synthetic drugs from the following retailers sued by Attorney General Schneiderman:

  • Pavilion International in Buffalo and Commack
  • Twisted Headz in Syracuse
  • Trip on the Wild Side II in Watertown
  • Rolling Fire Glassworks in Endicott
  • Goodfellas Alternative Smoke Shop in Utica
  • 20 Below/ This and That in Plattsburgh
  • Shining Star Enterprises in Albany
  • Giggles in Poughkeepsie
  • Village Sensations in Nanuet
  • East Coast Psychedelics in Oceanside and Commack
  • Daze Smoke Shop in Baldwin