AGs seek to get synthetic drugs out of convenience stores
Posted February 10, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Oil companies need to help stop synthetic drugs from being sold at gas stations and convenience stores, Attorney General Roy Cooper urged Tuesday.
Cooper joined 42 other state attorneys general in sending a letter to nine oil companies – British Petroleum, Chevron Corp., Citgo Petroleum Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., Marathon Petroleum Corp., Phillips 66, Shell Oil Co., Sunoco and Valero Energy Corp. – asking them to work with their franchisees to remove synthetic drugs from retail locations operating under their brand names.
“Despite laws against them, these potentially harmful drugs are all too easy to get, especially for young people,” Cooper said in a statement. “While law enforcement works to enforce existing laws against synthetic drugs, manufacturers try to evade those laws and sell their drugs at local gas stations and convenience stores.”
Synthetic drugs include both synthetic marijuana, often sold under the names K2 and Spice or as potpourri or herbal incense, and synthetic cathinones, typically sold as bath salts or jewelry cleaner. They are labeled “not for human consumption” to evade U.S. Food and Drug Administration oversight but are smoked or ingested by users to get high.
North Carolina banned synthetic marijuana in 2011, but some manufacturers simply tweaked their ingredients and returned to selling the substances.
The attorneys general are asking the oil companies to bar franchisees from selling synthetic drugs, revoke the franchise of any gas station or convenience store caught selling the substances and report such incidents to local law enforcement.
“The fact that synthetic drugs have been available at locations operating under respected brand names has only exacerbated an already growing problem," their letter states. "Young people are the most likely to use these dangerous drugs, and their availability in stores operating under well-known brands gives the appearance of safety and legitimacy to very dangerous products. Your companies spend millions of dollars on marketing campaigns designed to convince consumers that your brands are trustworthy. Enforcing strong policies against the sale of synthetic drugs in your retail locations can only protect your brand reputation while also protecting our youth."