AUSTIN – The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Spice Boutique in Houston for violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) and the nuisance statute. The OAG also sued Spice Boutique’s owners, brothers Minh Dang and Tuan Dang. The lawsuit is based on an investigation by the Houston Police Department Narcotics Division (HPD) into 16 synthetic marijuana overdoses that happened in Hermann Park in June 2016.
Undercover HPD officers purchased packets of suspected synthetic marijuana from Spice Boutique. Laboratory tests revealed that the packets contained synthetic cannabinoids—FUB-AKB48 and NM2201. Drug dealers manufacture synthetic marijuana by spraying or injecting shredded leaves and other plant matter with powerful hallucinogenic chemicals—synthetic cannabinoids which may cause severe paranoia, psychotic episodes, violent delusions, kidney damage, suicidal thoughts, and self-mutilation. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, synthetic cannabinoids rank second among the substances most abused by high school seniors; and synthetic cannabinoid overdoses are increasing in Texas. The sixteen Hermann Park overdoses occurred at “Kush Korner,” an area of the park infamous for synthetic marijuana abuse.
The OAG, Harris County Attorney’s Office, and the City of Houston filed the lawsuit in Harris County district court. This is the tenth lawsuit the OAG has filed in Harris County with the goal of stopping retail stores from selling synthetic drugs in Houston. The TRO includes an asset freeze, a first for an OAG synthetic marijuana case.