A.G. Schneidmeran Secures Penalty For Owner Of Saranac Lake Headshop And Permanent Ban On Sale Of Mislabeled Drugs

A.G. Schneidmeran Secures Penalty For Owner Of Saranac Lake Headshop And Permanent Ban On Sale Of Mislabeled Drugs

PLATTSBURGH — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that a judge has signed a consent order and judgment demanding mislabeled or unlabeled products, including the botanical drug kratom, be permanently removed from the store shelves of “The Grateful Toad” in Saranac Lake. In addition to the removal of these harmful products, owner Jason S. Ashley must also pay a total of $12,000 in penalties and costs.

“The proliferation of illegal designer drugs is a national health crisis that is hurting New York families and communities, and my office has successfully stopped more than 20 head shops across our state from selling these dangerous drugs,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office will continue to employ every weapon in our arsenal to combat the growing and dangerous designer drug epidemic.”

As part of Attorney General Schneiderman's undercover investigation, agents went into "The Grateful Toad," located on 13 Broadway Street, Saranac Lake, and purchased the designer drug kratom in e-liquid, capsule, and tea powder forms. Kratom is an extremely potent plant with opiate-like effects banned in even its own country of origin.

The order and judgment, which permanently bans the sale of any mislabeled, misbranded or unapproved drugs or intoxicants, including, but not limited to kratom, was signed by the Honorable John T. Ellis, Supreme Court, Franklin County.

Under New York State's Labeling Law, the packaging of consumer commodities must, at a minimum, 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. The kratom products sold by Jason S. Ashley at “The Grateful Toad” included little or none of the required labeling. The packing indicated only that kratom should not be used by nursing or pregnant women.

On January 12, 2016, the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Jason S. Ashley, doing business as “The Grateful Toad,” of Saranac Lake. Within 48 hours of filing the lawsuit, the Attorney General's office obtained a Temporary Restraining Order, effectively removing the mislabeled products from “The Grateful Toad’s” shelves. On February 1, 2016, an order was signed by Supreme Court Judge John T. Ellis, permanently banning the retailer from selling mislabeled or unlabeled products, including the harmful substance kratom.

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.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Christopher J. Fleury of the Attorney General’s Plattsburgh Regional Office and Assistant Attorney General In-Charge Deanna Nelson of the Attorney General’s Watertown Regional Office. The Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs is Martin J. Mack.