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October 26, 2012

P'burgh retailer liable for selling mislabeled synthetic drugs

PLATTSBURGH — A Plattsburgh head-shop owner has been deemed liable for selling mislabeled drugs to consumers while claiming the products were merely “sachets” meant for room freshening.

A $16,000 penalty has been levied.

New York Acting Supreme Court Justice Kevin K. Ryan ruled that Carla Brotherton, owner of This and That and 20 Below on Bridge Street in downtown Plattsburgh, was liable for selling the products.

“It staggers the imagination to believe they were not intended to be consumed,” Ryan said in his ruling regarding the products in question.

“Simply put, the respondent (Brotherton) offered over-the-counter drugs for sale without providing the consumer with much of the information required by law.”

DESIGNER DRUGS

The court case was spurred after State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s Office launched an undercover investigation in July 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,” according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The drugs have been documented as responsible for numerous incidents involving erratic and dangerous behavior among those who took them.

State labeling laws, according to Schneiderman’s office, say the packaging of 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.

‘IMPORTANT TOOL’

Schneiderman said Ryan’s ruling citing the state’s existing label laws will help in the fight to remove such products from head-shop shelves.

“Judge Ryan saw through the fraud being perpetrated by this industry against our communities, and his ruling will be an important tool in dismantling the insidious growth of illicit, over-the-counter drug sales,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

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