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AP-Synthetic-drugsBright eyed, tall, and enrolled at Cayuga Community College studying criminal justice and psychology, Victor Woolson was his mom’s pride and joy. But at college he began experimenting with synthetic drugs, which were widely available at head shops near the college’s Fulton campus.

Eventually he purchased a synthetic marijuana drug called “Avalanche” from a local store after taking the drug he went swimming with friends and drown. His mother who is mourning the loss of her son has now filed a $5 million dollar lawsuit against the store owner and hopes he is held liable for distributing products that were banned by the federal and state government.

In Minnesota federal and local government officials are prosecuting a store owner who admits to selling synthetic drugs on average $16,000 worth a day. Officials say the store was one of the largest retail outlets for synthetics in the country and sold drugs even cheaper than online.

Store owners who sell these synthetic drugs know it is illegal. They know they are hurting and ruining lives, they just don’t care. To these retailers money is more important than a human life. These stores often target teenagers and young adults who are the most vulnerable.

Synthetic marijunan like spice or K2 produces effects similar to THC and is three to 28 times more potent. Research has linked naturally produced marijuana to health issues, including schizophrenia. With synthetic marijuana being even more potent, it is frightening to consider its potential damage. Poison control centers nationwide report calls for overdoses in the last three years more than doubled.

In Virginia (VA), where our firm Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton and Favaloro is based, the state ban on synthetic drugs was passed in 2011. However several types of fake marijuana were found recently when a news channel did a story on the dangerous drugs. They found synthetic marijuana openly sold at gas stations and convenience stores. Federal and state bans have been hard to enforce since federal law makes it illegal but states must prosecute in local courts and need their own laws to do that. It’s unfortunate that such dangerous drugs continue to be sold and that efforts to stop those responsible are few and far between.



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