A Pasadena gas station is being sued for allegedly selling illegal synthetic marijuana, according to a Harris County press release.
Citing the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act, the State of Texas and the City of Houston have filed a restraining order and a lawsuit against Layth Omran, the owner of a Phillips 66 gas station allegedly caught selling "Kush," a type of synthetic pot that mimics the effects of marijuana but is much more dangerous. The lawsuit alleges the store's "Kush" was improperly labeled.
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"While the product may be labeled 'not for human consumption,' that is exactly how it is intended to be used," according to a press release from Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, who's worked with state and local officials to target businesses peddling synthetic pot. "Ingesting these substances can cause paranoia, psychotic episodes, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. Persons who have ingested Kush have become violent and have suffered paralysis, brain damage, heart attacks and even death."
The gas station sits along the South Loop Freeway in Pasadena, just down the block from a middle school and about half a mile from two elementary schools. According to the press release, a gas station clerk admitted to selling about 50 to 75 packets of "Kush" per day, and HPD suspects store workers actually sold the stuff to customers through a whole in a wall in the back of the gas station.
This isn't the first time the Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act has been creatively used to crack down on stores selling synthetic pot — in June, we reported that four Houston-area sex shops were sued under the consumer law — but it may be among the last. Starting September 1, a new state law will ban 1,000 chemical compounds of synthetic marijuana, as the Texas Tribune reported this week. That means stores will have trouble finding a way to legally sell synthetic pot, and law enforcement agencies will have a more straightforward path to prosecute sellers.