The Consumer Protection Section of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office today filed a lawsuit against a Colorado Springs convenience store, PoPo Wee Mart, LLC, its owner Jin Ju Kim (DOB 8/25/1957) and her husband Wanhee Lee (DOB 8/16/1957), for selling “spice.” The defendants are accused of selling spice products in packages falsely labeled as “herbal incense,” “botanical sachet,” and “potpourri” knowing they were being sold for human consumption. Having previously sued Tobacco King in Longmont, Paymon’s in Aurora, and O’s Pipes & Tobacco in Denver, this is now the forth lawsuit brought by Attorney General’s Office against a Colorado retailer for selling spice products.
On December 18, 2013, an investigation by the Colorado Springs Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Division (Metro VNI) resulted in the removal of 1,505 packages of spice products from PoPo Wee Mart. Metro VNI also removed 156 unlabeled, clear plastic bags containing suspected cannabinoids. Kim continued to sell spice products into 2014 resulting in Metro VNI executing a second search warrant on February 18, 2014 and again seizing the spice products from the store.
“Since spice is a synthetic cannabinoid, people facing drug tests are using these products as a substitute for marijuana, however this is a misnomer because the effects of spice are closer to those of PCP,” said Attorney General John Suthers. “Spice products are extremely dangerous as well as illegal and we will continue to prosecute retailers selling it.”
Although marijuana and synthetic cannabinoids affect the same part of the brain, the chemistry and the effects of synthetic cannabinoids are quite different from marijuana and include agitation, paranoia, vomiting, elevated blood pressure, seizures, hallucinations and non-responsiveness.
Today’s lawsuit was filed in El Paso County District Court. The Attorney General’s Office is seeking the maximum civil penalty of up to $2,000 per violation as well as disgorgement of profits from spice sales. The Attorney General contends that offering for sale each of the spice packages is a separate violation.