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NET Investigation results in the recovery of more than 11 thousand packages of suspected Synthetic Cannabinoids

February 4, 2013

The New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, with the assistance of the New York National Guard Counter Drug Unit, Port Jervis Police Department, Auburn Police Department, DeWitt Police Department, Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office, and the NYS Department of Health, executed a series of search warrants across upstate New York as part of an ongoing investigation into the sale of banned substances. The focus of the searches related to products sold in commercial establishments as “Synthetic Marihuana.”

Synthetic cannabinoids, also known as Synthetic Marijuana, are mixtures of vegetative substances infused with chemicals intended to mimic the effects of marijuana. The risks associated with the use of synthetic cannabinoids and related substances cannot be overstated. Health warnings have been issued by public health authorities and poison control centers describing the adverse health effects associated with these substances. The effects include agitation, extreme nervousness, nausea, vomiting, tachycardia, elevated blood pressure, seizures and hallucinations.

On August 7, 2012, The Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., proposed, and the Public Health and Health Planning Council amended the State Sanitary Code to include synthetic drugs. This amendment made it a violation to possess, manufacture, distribute, sell or offer to sell these substances.

The New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) began an investigation into the continued sale of the banned substances in August of 2012. The ongoing investigation identified a number of head shops, bodegas and smoke shops that continued to sell the products after the NYS Department of Health made notification of the newly enacted legislation banning the sale of the those substances.

During the operation, nine commercial establishments were the subject of searches by State Police and local law enforcement agency members. Those locations are:

Jamaica Junction – 15 Front Street, Port Jervis, NY

Dewey Avenue Smoke Shop – 1405 Dewey Avenue, Rochester, NY

Elab Smokers Boutique - 719 Monroe Avenue, Rochester, NY

Elab Smokers Boutique – 4373 Lake Avenue, Rochester, NY

Illusions Smoke Shop – 2854 Dewey Avenue, Greece, NY

Dazed and Confused Tobacco – 1308 Buffalo Road, Gates, NY

Alchemy Gift Shop – 6910 Buffalo Road, Niagara Falls, NY

Zonen Ltd. – 6697 Old Collamer Road, East Syracuse, NY

Hightops Sneakers & Smoking Accessory – 193 State Street, Auburn, NY