SAN DIEGO–District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has filed a civil law enforcement action against Outer Limits Smoke Shop and Gift and its principals, Robert and Evelyn Rocco, in order to stop the sale of synthetic marijuana, commonly called “spice.”
Spice is a dangerous synthetic drug which often contains chemicals banned by the State of California.
On Tuesday, Judge Robert Dahlquist issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the sale of spice at Outer Limits and ordering Outer Limits and its principals to show cause as to why the court should not enter a preliminary injunction banning the sale of the illegal substance. A hearing is set for October 6.
The District Attorney’s Office previously warned the owners of Outer Limits that it viewed the sale of spice as illegal and that the District Attorney’s Office may consider a civil law enforcement action to stop synthetic marijuana sales at Outer Limits and seek civil penalties as well. Despite this warning, an undercover operation conducted by the Oceanside Police Department in July revealed that the sale of spice continued at Outer Limits.
“Our office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to eliminate this public health hazard in San Diego County and we will continue to advance appropriate law enforcement actions against establishments that sell spice in violation of state and federal laws,” said DA Dumanis.
Previously, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service conducted a series of undercover operations which revealed the sale of spice at Outer Limits and other smoke shops in San Diego County. As a result of those undercover investigations, the District Attorney’s Office contacted the owners of Outer Limits.
Spice typically consists of dried plant material which is sprayed with synthetic chemical compounds. It also exists in liquid form. Some of the chemicals used in the manufacture of spice have been specifically banned under state law; many others have been scheduled as controlled substances under federal law – including some of the chemical compounds identified on the spice sold at Outer Limits.
Since January 2012, selling certain synthetic cannabinoid compounds (psychoactive bath salts and certain herbal incenses) have been illegal in California. The use of synthetic marijuana has been associated with serious, life-threatening side-effects and there have been numerous cases where individuals using spice have landed in the hospital. Those who have been taken to Poison Control Centers report symptoms that include rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion, and hallucinations. Spice can also raise blood pressure and cause reduced blood supply to the heart.
Still, a number of convenience stores, smoke shops and other retailers have continued to sell the drug despite the new law. Some of the brand names under which “spice” is sold Mr. Nice Guy, California Dreams, Scooby Snax, Green Buddha, 24K and Nuclear Bomb.