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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
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    3

    Lightbulb Manufacturers and Retailers of Herbal Incense

    My question involves a product liability issue in the state of: Arizona

    Apologies in advance if this is in the wrong thread. My nephew is apparently addicted to "fake weed" that is sold all over the place in Arizona. He buys it at local smoke shops and smokes a lot of it. He has been trying to stop using it, but is not able. He says he is addicted and as I've learned more about this stuff, it turns out that lots of other people (young and old) are addicted to it, too. This stuff is basically dried leaves with "designer synthetic drugs" sprayed on it and he says it kind-of gets him high, along with some unpleasant side effects (like loss of memory, tremors and eyesight issues). He is not the smartest guy in the world, but no way he'd still be smoking this stuff if he could quit.

    The manufacturers and retailers who make and sell this stuff are explicitly selling unknown leaves and chemicals to their customers, often along with pipes and papers that it can be smoked in. Both parties (the makers and the sellers) are making a lot of money. They know that it is being smoked, even though it is labeled as "incense" or "potpourri" and "not for human consumption."

    So my question is this: is there a way within the law to sue either the manufacturers and/or distributors for product liability? They are knowingly making and selling a product that has resulted in some deaths and addicted many users. They know it is being consumed by their customers, as there is no legitimate use for the product. There is no way for the law to keep up with this trade, as new chemicals are being synthesized all the time. Surely there is a way to go after these guys and disgorge the incredible profits they are making. Any ideas?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Manufacturers and Retailers of Herbal Incense

    Here is an article that addresses some of the key issues: http://palltimes.com/articles/2011/0...2108317184.txt

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    75,444

    Default Re: Manufacturers and Retailers of Herbal Incense

    The Arizona legislature has amended ARS 13-3401 in an attempt to outlaw most of the components used to create these forms of 'synthetic marijuana'. If your nephew is still buying it, consider giving local law enforcement a call so that they can investigate his source.

    Sure, it would be possible to sue a company or store that is selling a 'synthetic drug' as 'potpourri' or 'bath salts', when everybody from the manufacturer through the consumer knows that the only actual use for the product sold is as a drug. Difficulties would come from such things as establishing causation (drug users tend not to use only one substance or source, so even if you can show that symptoms followed use you need more evidence to demonstrate that the defendant's product was the source of the symptoms and not some other drug, disease or ailment), and establishing damages (your nephew may experience a sudden recovery if he simply stops ingesting materials that he knows aren't fit for human consumption, in which case he would appear likely to have a difficult time showing a meaningful injury from whatever he's using). Also, drug abusers don't make for the most reliable clients, so if your nephew is inclined to take things in a legal direction he had best start rehab, drug counseling, whatever it takes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Manufacturers and Retailers of Herbal Incense

    I realize this is a stretch, but I am looking for a way to claw back these ill-gotten gains and bring some attention to the fact that there are people in our county making and selling chemically-laced products that our children are using. Wouldn't a jury, presented with solid evidence that the products are created and sold with the intent that they be consumed, recognize that what these people are doing is criminal? Look at your forums. Why do we keep arresting young people for using this stuff and sending them even deeper into the abyss, while others keep making, selling and getting rich? I realize the feds and state are over their heads with drug wars and budget battles. How could some citizens come together and launch a direct legal/financial assault on the players in this market? If there is someone out there who is interested in exploring this, let me know. BTW, my nephew would probably not be a great witness, you are right. But there are others who would be, especially if we could give them some incentive to come forward.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Key West, FL
    Posts
    2,350

    Default Re: Manufacturers and Retailers of Herbal Incense

    Actually, you have no standing to sue anybody. Suing a retailer is going to be tuff. Any product liability action also has to jump through a bunch of hoops.

    The only thing likely to happen is some law firm will decide this could be a good money maker. They will round up some people who have been injured. Those will be the named defendants. Then they will get the civil action certified as a class action. If the court allows that, then they get to round up injured people from all over the place.

    Ultimately if they win, the lawyers make a fortune. The named defendants never have to work again. Everyone one else in the class gets $10 each or less. In many cases, they get a discount coupon or gift certificate worth squat. Sometimes the defendant has made and spent the money from their horrible product and the money is already gone and they just file bankruptcy and walk away leaving the defendants with nothing.

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