Lab report confirms synthetic marijuana
by Jack Latta
PRESTONSBURG — Legal wranglings over items seized from the smoke shack in Martin continued this week, after a Kentucky State Police lab test confirmed the existence of Schedule I controlled substances among the confiscated items.
Four of five substances were tested by the Kentucky State Police on June 14 in the Eastern Laboratory Branch in Ashland.
In a response to a motion filed by the attorneys for Smoke Shack in May, Assistant County Attorney Tyler Green says that, “In the defendant’s numerous pleadings, he has asserted that the contraband seized was not illegal. However, the Kentucky State Police Report of Forensic Laboratory Examination shows that all but one of the items seized are Schedule I controlled substances.”
In a motion filed in April, Michael J. Curtis, attorney for the defendant Thomas J. Jones, the owner of Smoke Shack, asserted that his client’s Fourth Amendment rights had been violated, because police had no probable cause and based their seizure off “pure suspicion.”
In a May 18 filing, Curtis stated that the packets confiscated by police in their previous raid were not actually listed among those outlawed.
In his motion, Curtis argued, “The whole purpose of House Bill 481 was to do away with the bath salts and synthetic cannabinoids, also known as Spice, Spike and K-2, that mimic the effects of the Delta 9 (THC).”
Curtis says that in this case, there was no Spice, Spike or K-2 found in the seizure, and that because of this the seizure is “unreasonable and completely lacking in probable cause.”
However, the laboratory report issued by the Kentucky State Police found the confiscated products “Head Trip,” “Mr. Nice Guy Mango,” “Scooby Snax” and “Mary Jane,” each contained substances consistent with a Schedule I drug. Only one plastic bag, with an unknown brown powder, came back with no identifiable controlled substances.
Twice so far this year police have received complaints that the Smoke Shack on Route 80 was selling synthetic marijuana. Police served a search warrant on the business and found over 700 packets of synthetic marijuana, with a value of just over $19,000. The drugs were stored in a safe in a back room of the store.
On April 11, the state legislature created emergency legislation with House Bill 481 to prohibit the trafficking in or possession of synthetic drugs, specifically “synthetic cannabinoids or piperazines,” “synthetic cathinones,” and “synthetic drugs.”
Green says that no one has been charged yet with the second bust, but that charges are pending upon determining ownership of the business. Thomas Jones reportedly transferred ownership of the Smoke Shack following the first seizure, though he is still listed as the president and principal owner with the Secretary of State.
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