A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement With Watertown Smoke Shop Barring Illegal Drug Sales

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

May 3, 2018

Attorney General’s Press Office / 212-416-8060
Twitter: @AGSchneiderman


Dusty Brown, Owner of Dusty B’s Smoke Shop, Illegally Sold Mislabeled and Misbranded Cannabidiol (CBD) Products and Operated Illegal Gambling Game

Head Shop Assessed $15,000 Penalty, Required to Turn Over Revenue From Illegal Sales

WATERTOWN –New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement agreement with Dusty Brown, the owner of Dusty B’s Smoke Shop in Watertown, NY, for illegally selling mislabeled and misbranded cannabidiol (CBD) and operating an illegal raffle. The investigation into Dusty B’s was part of the Attorney General’s initiative to reduce the presence of street drug alternatives and designer drugs in communities across the state. As part of today settlement, Dusty B’s is barred from selling CBD or any other mislabeled or misbranded drugs, barred from conducting illegal raffles, and required to turn over all proceeds from its illegal conduct. Additionally, Brown was assessed a $15,000 penalty.

“Misbranded drugs are illegal and can lead to dangerous consequences for consumers,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “As my office continues to fight the drug epidemic, we’ll ensure that smoke shops are not given a pass to deceive New Yorkers and jeopardize their health and safety.”

In 2017, Attorney General Schneiderman opened an investigation into Dusty B’s, after learning that the smoke shop was selling mislabeled and misbranded CBD products in violation of several state labeling laws. An undercover investigator confirmed the availability and sale of three types of CBD products known as “CBD Drip,” a liquid intended to be used with a vaporizer. The investigation further revealed that Dusty B’s also advertised the availability of CBD products in a coupon book mailed locally to over 40,000 residences across Jefferson, Lewis, and Herkimer Counties. The sale of CBD Drip products violates NYS Education Law and Agriculture and Markets Law because the products are mislabeled and misbranded. Labeling requirements, such as manufacturer information, common identity names of the product itself, health warnings, and dosage and usage instructions, apply to all products sold in New York State for drug effect—regardless of whether the product is considered a “controlled substance” under federal or state law.

When questioned about the sale of CBD products, Brown falsely claimed that she had never advertised the sale of the products, and attempted to deceive investigators by claiming the products were not sold to be used as drugs and instead were only intended as “flavor enhancers.” However, the products’ packaging urges the buyer to “Experience the Phenomenon” and the manufacturer’s website and the shop’s Facebook page contained multiple statements from consumers regarding the purported drug effects of the CBD products sold.

In addition to the illegal CBD sales, the Attorney General’s investigation revealed that Dusty B’s Smoke Shop conducted a raffle, which under State law constitutes an illegal game of chance. In December 2017, Dusty B’s sold raffle tickets of different prices and quantities, giving consumers a chance to win a $200 glass pipe. The business then drew from the names of the ticket purchasers, via a live Facebook video, and announced the winner of the glass pipe on the shop’s Facebook page. Under the state’s General Municipal Law, a raffle conducted by a for-profit business is a form of illegal gambling and is prohibited.

Beginning in 2012, the Attorney General has undertaken an initiative to remove street drug alternatives and designer drugs from the shelves of stores across the state. The Attorney General has established in courts across the state that products such as these were being illegally sold because they did not comply with state labeling and branding laws. Since then, the Attorney General’s office has secured court judgments or agreements with over 24 retailers of designer drug products, greatly reducing the availability of these dangerous and mislabeled products to New Yorkers.

This investigation was conducted by Investigator Chad Shelmidine. The Investigations Division is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Watertown Regional Office, Deanna R. Nelson, and Assistant Attorney General Alicia M. Lendon.  The regional offices are led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Martin J. Mack.